Sophia S. Minnesota

End Sex Trafficking

Sex trafficking is a big problem in the United States and we need to take further action into preventing it.

Dear Hillary Clinton,

If for some terrible reason this is Donald Trump reading this, I’d especially want you to pay close attention to this because I know no one loves women more than you. Something I think we should be thinking about earnestly is preventing sex trafficking. Sex trafficking is the abuse and misuse of girls both young and and adult who are forced into sex labor/prostitution and domestic labor. There is a minority of males who are reeled into sex trafficking as well, but it is more rare. A large portion of sex slaves are immigrants who are just looking for work to get money to support their new lives in this country. They are often tricked into slavery and then trapped and cannot escape from their trafficker. Even though it is illegal, it is still happening at a high rate. So I am asking you as president to help end sex trafficking and to ensure that children under the age of 18 are treated as victims not criminals.

There are different cases of sex trafficking that we need to be watching out for such as domestic sex trafficking of adults, sex trafficking of foreign adults and children, commercial sex acts, forced labor, forced labor and domestic servitude (Soroptimist Best for Women). Most victims are vulnerable and are often homeless, runaways, foreign, or LGBTQ individuals. They become homeless for many reasons mostly because they are trying to escape from their rough pasts. Innocent people are dragged into a dangerous position that they cannot get out of because they do not always understand what is going on, that they have rights, and that there are resources to help them.

“Sex trafficking is the fastest growing enterprise in the world” (Ark of Hope for Children). There are about 1.5 million victims in the United States. According to the Ark of Hope for Children, 600,000 to 800,000 women, children, and men are bought and sold across international borders every year. About 50% of sex slaves are estimated to be children (Ark of Hope for Children). All these statistics are very alarming, but they are important for us realize to motivate us to put an end to it.

Sex trafficking occurs in many different ways; people tend to be tricked into becoming sex slaves. Some ways people are tricked are by online advertising, and by fake massage and modeling businesses. There are also situations when victims are at truck stops, hotels, residential brothels and even just on the street. For example, a woman named Shandra Woworuntu moved to the United States from Indonesia hoping to work at a hotel so she could support her family. To her surprise she was tricked into sex trafficking and was abused, forced to do hard drugs, and to have sex. Her trafficker told her she was in debt $30,000 dollars and she had to make it up by having sex - she could never pay this debt with her ‘service’ costing her $100 per customer. This means she would have to have sexual intercourse 300 times. There was no easy way for Shandra to escape, she was always watched by her trafficker or locked in a room. After months of enslavement she was able to escape. When Shandra told the police they didn't believe her so she started telling her stories to strangers on the street to get money and food. One man in particular helped her and got the FBI involved. They found her traffickers and released all of the slaves (BBC News Shandra Woworuntu: my life as a sex trafficking victim). This was a happy ending for Shandra and all the other women who were enslaved with her, but there are still many hundreds of thousands of women and girls who are less fortunate than Shandra. For instance, police should take all cases seriously and make a stronger effort to get involved with ending sex trafficking in the United States, more supports and resources should be available to victims, and girls should have special protections as victims and not be prosecuted for prostitution since they were trapped into this against their will. What is being done to stop human trafficking is a law called the Trafficking Victims Protection Act which prevents sex trafficking and protects survivors (the muse).

Overall, sex trafficking is still a large problem that has been going on for too long and we need to put an end to it. A way we can start to prevent sex trafficking is by spreading awareness. It is very important that everyone feels safe and protected in their country so we need make it that way. Let’s make a change now.

Thank you, Mrs. or Mr. President, I hope you give serious consideration to this heartbreaking problem.

Sophia Smith

St. Paul Central High School

Approaching Analysis - Hours 2 and 3

This is a sophomore honors class at St. Paul Central High School in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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