“Jane” was 14 when she started.  Others were as young as 12 and 13.  No, they weren’t necessarily cutting class, sneaking out at night, breaking into their parents’ liquor cabinets, or getting too familiar with boyfriends, although they may have done all that.  “Jane” and thousands of other young girls were and are employed as child prostitutes. 

Their stories are disturbingly similar. 

“Jane” was sent to day care where she was molested at four.  Her mother was a junkie so she went to live with her pothead father whose roomie sexually abused her after which her dad rejected her.  She then went to live with a woman, a family “friend,” who forced her to sell drugs and prostitute herself.  She met a 36 year old man in Seattle who befriended her, promised her “a better life,” took her to Portland where he beat her until she agreed to work the streets. 

An unusual, exceptional case?  Not quite, unless one considers 100,000 to 1.6 million child hookers in America are unusual exceptions. 

Those are the estimates of various analysts, the number disparity attributable to the secretiveness of those in the sex trade: “Sex trafficking is so widespread, said Nathan Wilson, founder of the Project Meridian Foundation in Arlington, which helps police identify traffickers and their victims, that ‘no country, no race, no religion, no class and no child is immune.’  He said 1.6 million children younger than 18–native and foreign-born–have been caught up in this country’s sex trade:” http://bit.ly/hRO72D 

Americans dismiss those numbers at their and their childrens’ peril. 

In a sense, it may be reassuring to discount horror stories involving Planned Parenthood such as PP employees and managers advising pimps on how to conduct their child prostitution rings and on how to get std checks and abortions since their under-age sex slaves were foreigners, but far from all child prostitutes in America are foreign born. 

.  “Tysheena” was molested by a relative at 12, met a 27 year old pimp at 13, and was working Atlantic City at 14.  She was beaten and threatened with death if she left but escaped at 17. 

.  “Sheila” escaped at 15, from a dysfunctional home, fled to a friend’s home where she was raped by the friend’s stepfather, was sent to foster care where she was abused and recruited into prostitution at 17. 

.  “Katrina” was a 16 year old Atlanta youth who was isolated from her family by a pimp who moved her to New York, beat her regularly, had his dog bite her, until she finally got away at 19 and returned to Atlanta. 

.  “Brandi” says she “was forced by her mother to have sex with the mother’s friend in exchange for goods, which she called ‘material things’ ” and was exploited by her mother “between the ages of 2 and 6,” before she began to exploit herself: http://bit.ly/lNk93c 

“Jane,” “Tysheena,” “Sheila,” and “Brandi” are not alone. 

It’s easy for parents to say, “Yeah, but that wouldn’t be my kid!”  It’s easy and simplistic.  Without even factoring in the loose sexual climate, the truth is that child exploitation in America, child prostitution, and child sexual abuse have reached epidemic proportions.  “No country, no race, no religion, no class and no child is immune.”