Sex Trafficking in the U.S.
People often do not understand the extent of child sex trafficking in the United States. An estimated 325,000 children are exploited in the commercial sex industry in our country*. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that an additional 300,000 American children are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation. These children are tortured, abused, and cannot enjoy life as a typical child. Sadly, their trauma grows when they are removed with nowhere to go. Exploited children are often arrested and taken to the juvenile justice system, where they are charged with crimes like soliciting or running away. These children are often placed into detention centers or enter the child welfare system. They receive no therapeutic interventions or population-specific assistance for their trauma. A 2007 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revealed there are only 45 beds in the entire United States to assist in housing and treating these adolescent victims**.
*National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 2007.
**Chicago Tribune, 2009.