Readers it is finally here, something which myself and many supportive colleagues have been focusing on for three years; updating Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Trafficking. The one person who is really doing the hard work in making this a reality is
The first fact I need every reader and leader to understand is that there is one particular misperception about the real crime of child sex trafficking in America; more often than not it is a parent or guardian who is exploiting or trafficking the child. This is a horrible fact I’m asking you to consider, but in Small Town America we usually don’t see Pimps, Working Girls on Street Corners, or the ‘Johns’ circling the block in their vehicles. We don’t have the inner city crime areas where others drive by picking and choosing from those standing almost naked in the freezing cold at three in the morning. We don’t have gangs of kids pushing drugs from the projects. We rarely have common acts of vandalism in the thousands of ‘safe’ communities across the country.
It is because we believe in the ‘safety’ of these communities that we don’t think about what happens inside the house or apartment or trailer next door. We figure our neighbors are all very ‘GOOD’ people because we see them at the grocery store, we see them at picnics, we see them at church, and our kids go to school with their kids, play school sports together, or hang out at the public pool together. However, let me be perfectly clear when I share a few more facts with you.
NO PERSON DREAMS OF BEING A PROSTITUTE WHEN THEY GROW UP – this is something that is done out of survival; either being forced by control and threats or physical harm by someone or the aftermath destruction of leaving an abusive home and a life influenced by drugs, degradation, and sex.
I was born in small town rural America, raised in these ‘safe’ communities, and grew up to become a wife and mother living within a ‘safe’ suburb so my children could be safe. Most in the town of Freeburg knew my mother and stepfather well; they each had their own reputations. My stepfather the violent and depraved alcoholic and my mother playing the poor victim and woman who had to tolerate him as a husband.
This was not the truth, or at least about my mother anyway. My mother pretty much handed me over to Malcolm like a piece of property she signed over in a prenuptial agreement. By the time I was ten he could dominate me, stalk me, molest me, and then started using me and sharing me with other men that he knew or worked with at the local coal mine. Sometimes he took me to the area bar and pawned me off for a couple glasses of beer, other times he took me to private locations with more than one or two men involved. Mother allowed him to take me along on their dates and then use me as bait to lure some guy in who would by our table drinks and dance with her as she allowed her husband to rub himself against me on a public dance floor. She permitted him to enter me into some bathing beauty ‘Miss Peabody’ pageant at thirteen and then started allowing him to invite five or more men over for late-night parties with alcohol, weed, and porn; entertained by her young daughter as she lay in her room watching TV or reading a book.
My mother was not threatened to allow any of this, in fact Malcolm would have and did do anything my mother requested. Yes, he was a very mean drunk, but not once did I ever hear him so much as raise his voice at her, much less threaten her or dominate her. If the things she permitted to happen to me would have been something he did to her, and if she was treated with such constant control and physical violence; if any of the cruelties against her middle daughter would have been committed against her I know she would have moved on to the next man who was willing to take care of her.
This is how most cases of Rural Area Child Sex Trafficking in America really happens and the escalation of cruelty that encircles the life of these young victims. As children they don’t quite understand what or why these horrible terrifying things are happening and it will probably take decades before they can finally process all the darkness and distortions caused by the parent or parents responsible for their care; for giving them life, but destroying their spirit. These young persons, who can be of any age, are used, shared, sold and bartered for shelter, drugs, and possibly even money. It happened in my case and I know a couple hundred adult survivors and rescued teens who have endured these small town secret crimes without help or hope, just trying to make it through so they can get big enough to escape.
These are the types of offenses we must stand strong against as communities. We must rally our law enforcement, our healthcare providers, our educators, and our neighbors to be a voice for a child or a family in distress. The internal suffering of these silenced and ignored young victims is a haunting with repercussions that affect many aspects of their forming and adult life patterns and behaviors, which then becomes a burden to citizens by the estimated $145 Billion per year economic deficit to provide recovery and rebuilding services, along with many other challenges.
Mental, Dental, and Medical Healthcare
Early Disability from PTSD, Depression, Permanent Injury
Immediate & Longterm Life Skills & Recovery Support
Criminal Justice & Legal Services
Homelessness & Shelter Services
Addictions & Self Harming Behaviors
Way too often and much too common, as discussed with a few hundred advocates & survivors; the guilt and shame of these brutal acts is like a brainwashing, ‘training’, ‘conditioning’ that our adult relationships are challenged and our families suffer as they see the emotional turmoil roll through like an evil snake of destruction. We stand for the rights of so many different causes today; Rights for LGBTQ, Muslims, Christians, Animals, and Trees – it’s time to stand up for the Rights & Safety of our American Children.
VOTING – YES for HB3629 – Illinois becomes one of the many states updating Criminal & Civil Statutes for the crime of Human Trafficking, Trafficking in Persons, Involuntary Servitude of a Child, Involuntary Sexual Servitude of a Minor. By voting YES – HB3629 we give these young victims time to grow so they understand what happened, time to heal from the layers of trauma, time to actually accept what their parent or caretaker has done or allowed others to do against them.