When Americans think of prostitution in the United States we think of the prostitutes as criminals, not victims. This leads to another common myth about Human Trafficking.
Myth #3: Prostitutes aren’t really victims but criminals.
By definition, people under the age of 18 can’t consent sexual activity and therefore are victims. The entry age for most victims into prostitution in the U.S. is 13-14 years old. (The average age for someone to be taken in by a trafficker is 11 but it takes time to transport and prepare the victims.) First, by legal definition a child (under 18) cannot consent to any sexual activity. An adult engaging in these acts commits statutory rape.
If a person is an adult engaging in prostitution, we must consider how they arrived into that situation also. The truth is they are often recruited as children which are often won over through false love, warmth, gifts and/or promises of a better life. However, once the trafficker has earned their trust they are often beaten, burned, raped, confined, provided forced drug injections, starved and then forced to perform thousands of sexual acts per year.
Here are some facts: According to State Department’s Victims of Trafficking & Violence Protection Act of 2000, Traffickers also buy children from poor families and sell them into prostitution or into various types of forced or bonded labor.
(5) Traffickers often transport victims from their home communities to unfamiliar destinations, including foreign countries away from family and friends, religious institutions, and other sources of protection and support, leaving the victims defenseless and vulnerable. (6) Victims are often forced through physical violence to engage in sex acts or perform slavery-like labor. Such force includes rape and other forms of sexual abuse, torture, starvation, imprisonment, threats, psychological abuse, and coercion. (7) Traffickers often make representations to their victims that physical harm may occur to them or others should the victim escape or attempt to escape. Such representations have the same coercive effects on victims as direct threats to inflict such harm PUBLIC LAW 106–386—OCT. 28, 2000 114 STAT. 1467
What have the government studies taught us? As we just learned from the Protection Act, victims are tricked, coerced, brainwashed, manipulated and forced into this lifestyle. That means they did NOT willfully choose to be a prostitute and are actually sex slaves.
The next time you see a prostitute who is an adult don’t think “Well they are choosing to do this.” because the vast majority of the time they didn’t.
Join the fight against slavery. It begins with an information war to let the truth be known. Help your friends learn this topic, by letting them know about this blog and sharing it on your social media accounts as well.
This is the second entry on this topic. With these blog I am attempting to address the most common Human Trafficking Myths. If there’s a myth you’d like addressed, e-mail me or leave a comment below.