Abuse, Sexual Assault, and Child Trafficking

A few months ago Safe Start Center highlighted Human Trafficking Awareness Day and in support of National Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness month we’d like to provide an update on what the government has been up to in addressing the problem. Human Trafficking is a massive issue that exposes over a million children annually to sexual violence and abuse both in the US and abroad. It is an important focus of this awareness month because the biggest majority of trafficked children, both boys and girls, are those that have been abused and neglected and are those most likely to be exposed to violence and multiple victimizations in the future. You can learn more about the growing problem of the commercial sexual exploitation of children by checking out the KNOW THE FACTS fact sheet.

“The Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that each year at least 300,000 children are the human products meeting the demand of the sex trafficking industry in the U.S. alone. Around the world, more than one million children are subjected to human trafficking for sex or porn. The industry is estimated to bring in $9.5 billion annually.”

So what is being done in the US to stop it?

President Obama recently addressed a Human Trafficking Task Force Meeting at the White House where he reiterated that he is “confident that we will one day end the scourge of modern slavery.”

And the Administration really has made great efforts towards increasing government efforts to build partnerships with communities and NGOs to seriously combat domestic trafficking. In addition, on the international front, the State Department has made the fight against modern slavery a part of its diplomatic engagement and their work has made real advances in fighting trafficking in almost 40 countries!

Two of the most recent examples of how US agencies are working together to stop trafficking are:

  1. The Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Lightning Initiative “which provides U.S. commercial airlines that operate U.S.-bound international routes and their employees a voluntary mechanism to identify potential human trafficking victims and to notify federal authorities.”
  1. The U.S. Department of Transportation is working to “insure that the U.S. transportation system is not an enabler for human trafficking, [so] the Department of Transportation is operating an awareness campaign aimed at commercial truck drivers as well as personnel working at the nation’s railroads, according to John Porcari, deputy secretary of transportation.” Read more here.

You can check out the entire comprehensive list of the Obama Administration Accomplishments on Combating Trafficking in Persons as of February 2012 here.

So, as we continue to raise awareness this month and share the great progress being made to combat both abuse and sexual assault, it’s important we remember that the fight must continue to break the cycle and prevent and protect children and families from exposure.

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