[profileleft][/profileleft]As awful as the entire concept of child sex trafficking is, it’s always good to know when law enforcement puts a stop to it. The unfortunate reality of the situation is that child sex trafficking happens all over the world. The United States is not free of this problem. It’s up to everyone – law enforcement, advocacy groups and private citizens – to watch for signs that this may be happening and do whatever is necessary to save the children who are being seriously damaged as a result of these criminal operations.
The children’s rights lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys work tirelessly to hold those responsible for these actions accountable. Our firm would like to continue to highlight the yeoman’s work that is being done by law enforcement. Specifically, we’d like to highlight a recent sting led to a high number of arrests.
We would also like to provide some warning signs of child sex trafficking. If more people are on the lookout for this going forward, the more progress we will make.
About the Child Sex Trafficking Ring Bust
The San Diego Union-Tribune published an article recently that detailed the law enforcement operation. Those interested in reading the entire story can find it here. Officials called the effort Operation Cross Country X. This plan has been executed 10 times. The FBI led the operation in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies across the United States. Authorities from Canada, Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines also took part in the sting.
Agents from the different law enforcement bodies used different tactics to focus on those who they believed were responsible for child sex trafficking. They worked the streets undercover in different cities. They also worked online to lure those who were trafficking in children out from the shadows. Overall, 239 alleged child sex traffickers and associated who are believed to have been part of criminal organizations were arrested. The operation also freed 82 victims in the United States. Agencies from other countries saved 25 children, one who is two years old.
Child Sex Trafficking Statistics
First, we’d like to congratulate everyone who worked on this operation. Because of these heroic efforts, more than 100 children from around the world are now free from the horrifying shackles of child sex trafficking. We hope that these young people are reunited with their loved ones soon. We also hope that they are able to get the help that they will undoubtedly need to get back into their lives so that they can enjoy happiness, safety and good health.
Unfortunately, there will need to be many more operations as successful as Operation Cross Country X in order to stamp out child sex trafficking. This is a major problem across the globe. Child sex trafficking statistics are hard to come by, as so many cases are never reported for varying reasons. That said, several organizations have worked to compile child sex trafficking statistics. Some of the more troubling appear below.
- According to EqualityNow.org, approximately 2 million children worldwide are exploited in the commercial sex trade.
- According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, or the NCMEC, 1 in 6 endangered runaways reported to the organization were likely victims of child sex trafficking.
- The NCMEC also reported that 68 percent of these likely child sex trafficking victims were in the care of social services or foster care when they ran away.
- According to Soroptomist.org, 79 percent of victims of trafficking of all ages end up in sexual slavery situations. Many of these victims are children.
The sad reality of this issue is that the numbers relating to child sex trafficking are likely much higher. It’s possible that in the years to come these statistics will get worse as more child sex traffickers are caught and more children are rescued.
Warning Signs of Child Sex Trafficking
The Thorn Technology Task Force works to bring about awareness and prevention of child sexual exploitation. The organization has released a list of warning signs for child sex trafficking. A few of these warning signs include children who:
- Are chronic runaways and/or homeless
- Carry an excessive amount of cash
- Carry hotel keys and key cards
- Have injuries or signs of physical abuse
- Seem fearful of a nearby authority figure of some sort
- Are not enrolled in school or are frequently absent
- Carry a prepaid cell phone
Those interested in reading the entire list can find it here. Basically, if you know of a child you suspect may be in this type of trouble, you should take immediate steps to look further into the situation as soon as possible.
Child Sex Trafficking – What Can I Do?
If you are a parent, the first thing you should do is act quickly if you suspect that anything is wrong with your child, whether that child is a boy or a girl. The best way to alleviate those concerns before they arise is to establish and maintain open lines of communication. That is often much easier said than done, especially with teens. If you don’t feel that you are hearing about everything that’s happening with your child you should dig deeper.
If you suspect that another child may be suffering through child sex trafficking, you should contact law enforcement as soon as possible. Below you will find information regarding different options for you to contact if you need to make a report:
- The National Human Trafficking Resource Center – 888-373-7888 – you can also file an anonymous online report at this link.
- The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children – 800-THE-LOST – you can also file an online report here.
- The United States Department of Homeland Security – 866-347-2423 – you can file an online report with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement here.
Of course, you can also contact your local police department if you are unsure of where to start. What matters most is that you do something to help a child you suspect is being forced to live in this terrifying world.
Seek Additional Legal Help from Children’s Rights Lawyers
People are responsible for the unspeakable harm that is inflicted on these children. Those people need to be held accountable in a criminal sense and if possible in civil court. If a loved one has been forced to live through child sex trafficking and you need additional legal help, please feel free to contact the children’s rights lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.