Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Video exposes underworld of human trafficking in U.S.

Video exposes underworld of human trafficking in U.S.

Ed Thomas
July 30, 2007

An organization that fights sex trafficking has released a new educational video that its founder hopes will raise awareness to the horrendous practice of domestic minor sex trafficking here in the U.S.

Shared Hope International founder and president Linda Smith says the video, Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: How to Identify America's Trafficked Youth, provides an in-depth and inside look at the buying and selling of children in the trade for prostitution and pornography -- which she says may number more than 100,000 a year, according to estimates from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Christiannewswire.com reports that up to 300,000 American children are at high-risk for exploitation in the U.S. sex industry. To combat this problem, Shared Hope International is making available this new video.

Producers of the video used undercover video cameras as well as investigators who posed as buyers and visiting tour operators. "And they found that they could go to most truck stops, they could go to strip joints, they could go to most hotels... and they could be provided a minor -- an American child 14 years old, sometimes younger -- for the right amount of money," says Smith.

Smith says that is shown on the video so ordinary people will be made aware that the practice and problem is real, and to look out for it. To that end, the video is being distributed to parents and churches and community groups, as well as to first responders like law enforcement agencies, social service providers, and juvenile detention officials.

"We had really thought that most of the children would be coming in from other countries; that they would be vulnerable [and] moved across borders -- and what we found was startling," she admits.

According to Smith at least 90 percent of the victims in the U.S. are born within the country's borders. Smith also hopes for a broader outlook from first responders on minors involved in sex trafficking as victims, and not just as prostitutes or "bad girls."

Source: http://www.onenewsnow.com/2007/07/video_exposes_underworld_of_human_trafficking.php


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