It's always interesting to talk with someone about minor sex trafficking and find out what they believe about the issue. Although awareness has greatly increased, there are still many misconceptions about sex trafficked children. Check your knowledge against the following myths & facts from a facebook post by Multnomah County, Oregon Dept. of Community Justice:
"Myth: Sex trafficked individuals were kidnaped, abducted, or taken...just like the movie Taken.
Fact: "...individuals who have experienced sex trafficking have a far more nuanced experience. Sex trafficked individuals are often seduced, coerced, manipulated, tricked or forced into trading sex for some item of value. In Portland, we see this typically looking like a false image of a relationship or the trafficker/pimp posing as a talent agent, and then coercing/manipulating them in to engaging in what society would call prostitution.
Myth: If a youth does not have a trafficker, there is no way for them to be sex trafficked.
Fact: The law clarifies that minors who trade sex for an item of value do not need to have a trafficker for it to be trafficking, the act of trading sex itself as a minor qualifies them as being trafficked.
Myth: Youth who engage in trading sex are criminals; they are just child prostitutes.
Fact: Sexually exploited youth are survivors of commercial sexual exploitation or sex trafficking, and under the law are afforded rights as a victim of a crime.
Myth: Sexually exploited youth have freedom of movement and can escape if they want to.
Fact: Victims of commercial sexual exploitation are often subjected to ongoing physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, threats and intimidation. The trauma bond is a powerful and salient reason for individuals remaining with their exploiter/trafficker/pimp.
Myth: U.S. citizens cannot be victims of sex trafficking.
Fact: Anyone who is coerced into performing a commercial sex act for the benefit or gain of another is a victim of sex trafficking. Victims can be U.S. citizens or non U.S. citizens.
Myth: Sex trafficked individuals who do not cross a border, including state borders, do not qualify for federal victim assistance.
Fact: You do not need to cross a border to qualify as having been sex trafficked. All victims of human trafficking qualify under federal law for victim assistance."
Multnomah County's post wraps up with this description of victims: "Sex trafficking occurs across all gender identities, race and age. We do see that trafficked individuals are not exclusively, but disproportionally occurring with individuals of color, LGBTQ, differently-abled, and those with lower socioeconomic status. While we know trafficking typically begins when someone is young, exploitation does not simply stop when they become an adult".
No child should ever have to experience the horrors of being trafficked for sex. Let's fight against it with everything we can and in every way we can.
Sunday, September 22, 2019: Freedom Sunday at North County Christ the King, 1835 Liberty St., Lynden, WA. All three services: 9 & 11:00 am and 6:30 pm.
Sunday, October 20, 2019: Engedi Refuge Ministry's Stand Against Slavery at Northlake Community Church, 1471 E McLeod Rd. Bellingham, WA. 6-8 pm