I want to be very clear about this — I believe child sex trafficking is an abhorrent crime and I am not a fan in any way shape or form. The people who use children and teens in this way are the scum of the earth.
However, every time the media gets all up in arms about child sex trafficking I go a little nuts because compared to the rate of child sexual abuse in the world, it’s a drop in the bucket. It’s fear mongering. The chance of your sweet child, boy or girl, being trafficked is about the same as the chance of them being struck by lightening. One in a gazillion.
Think about it – do you know anyone, personally, who’s been struck by lightening? I happen to know one person. How many people do you know who’ve been sexually abused? No one? Ha. That’s a load of crap. I can’t tell you the number of people I know who were sexually abused as children because, comparatively, it happens ALL THE FUCKING TIME.
Here are the details and some numbers for you:
Sexual abuse knows no boundaries.
Every child is vulnerable. Race, ethnicity, class, family income, family structure, do impact a child’s likelihood of abuse, but don’t be fooled into thinking “not my kid.” I like to think of it as an equal opportunity horror.
About 1 in 10 children will be physically sexually abused by their 20th birthday. This does not include non-contact sexual abuse such as viewing porn and phone/internet contact. Because this number only based on contact abuse, and since 80% of sexual abuse is unreported, I think it’s safe to assume the numbers are higher, more like 1 in 5.
Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) are on children 17 and younger. This bears repeating: 70%.
Only 10% of kids are abused by a stranger. And for a child, once they have met you, you are no longer a “stranger.” 90% are abused by someone they know and trust.
Child sex trafficking knows many boundaries.
The FBI has rescued a mere 2700 children from “the life” since 2003. That’s it. It’s terrible that the number is so small, but the reality is this is a very hard crime to fight.
There are 300,000 to 400,000 thousand youth at risk for sex trafficking. According to the 2012 US Census, there are 41,844,000 youth age 10-19 in the US. Do the math. It’s highly likely your child is not one of these kids.
According to FairGirls.org, Sex trafficked children are vulnerable and usually have a history of:
Sexual abuse (Bing Bing Bing!!!!) About 80% of minors involved in sex trafficking were sexually abused. Abuse begets abuse.
Neglect in their home
Being in the juvenile “justice” system
Being in foster care
Often they are runaways, homeless, young or an LGBT teen.
Since I have a pretty good idea of the demographics of my readers, the only truly relevant factor for your child could be a history of sexual abuse. Neglect or poverty could also impact the chance your child could be sex trafficked.
I would put sex trafficking at the bottom of the list in terms of things to worry about when it comes to your child’s health and safety. Child sexual abuse is the problem that needs to be endlessly focused on — not child sex trafficking. If we work to stop the first, the second will be reduced.
Learn more about how to protect your child from the real danger of sexual abuse at www.d2l.org or www.savvyparentssafekids.com
And if you’d like to learn more about my kick-ass approach to reducing child sexual abuse, please join me for my webinar on Monday, February 23 @ 9PM PST. It’s recorded, so you can register and watch the recording later if the time isn’t good for you.
Register here: www.birdsandbeesandkids.com/learn/