Despite massive leaps and bounds in technology and quality of life across the planet, there is still a very dark problem and it is hiding in plain sight. Slavery. According to the most recent data, there are over 40 million people in slavery with 1 in 4 of them being children. Its scope is massive and so are its profits — raking in around $150 billion annually.
An estimated 40.3 million people are in some form of slavery in 167 countries around the world, according to the Global Slavery Index published by the Walk Free Foundation. This number is the highest it has ever been.
An article published in Psychology Today reminds us of the ominous state of the free world. “Never before in human history have this many people been enslaved,” write Jenny Hwang and Shayne Moore in their report on the heart-rending data about child trafficking.
In the US, child trafficking is a growing problem in all 50 states. Children, young girls—some as young as 9 years old—are being bought and sold for sex in America. The average age for a young woman being sold for sex is now 13 years old.
As the recent verdict in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial shows us, the problem goes all the way to the top.
Sex trafficking—especially when it comes to the buying and selling of young girls—has become big business in America, the fastest growing business in organized crime and the second most-lucrative commodity traded illegally after drugs and guns.
As investigative journalist Amy Fine Collins notes, “It’s become more lucrative and much safer to sell malleable teens than drugs or guns. A pound of heroin or an AK-47 can be retailed once, but a young girl can be sold 10 to 15 times a day—and a ‘righteous’ pimp confiscates 100 percent of her earnings.”
Shockingly enough, the research shows the majority of sex trafficked children in North America (US and Canada) come from government welfare programs. The authors of this research project note that domestic sex trafficking is a growing crime in Canada, and the majority of victims are children and youth who are or were in the Child Welfare (CW) system. It is the same in the United States too.
While many think that the state taking children from parents is a noble gesture to protect the child, all too often, the state removes kids from a bad situation and throws them into a situation akin to a horror film. Many times the children are taken from caring parents, who happened to hit a rough patch in their lives, and thrown into torturous and outright sadistic situations where they end up raped, tortured, and even murdered.
According to the government’s own data, the vast majority of a portion of these trafficked kids are coming from the government system who promises to keep them safe—a horrifying irony indeed. But it appears to be set up this way.
This system is set up to pull children from their families for ridiculous reasons and turn them over to for profit systems—funded by your tax dollars—that use these children as cash cows and have no incentive to keep them safe.
In 1984, the United States Congress established the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), and, as part of Missing Children’s Assistance Reauthorization Act of 2013 they receive $40 million to study and track missing and trafficked children in the United States.
In 2019, NCMEC assisted law enforcement with over 23,500 cases of missing children, all of whom were considered endangered runaways.
According to their most recent report complied from FBI data and their own, of the nearly 24,000 runaways reported to NCMEC in 2019, one in six were likely victims of child sex trafficking. Of those, 88 percent were in the care of social services when they went missing.
Equally as disturbing as the fact that most sex trafficked kids come from within the system is the fact that the FBI discovered in a 2014 nationwide raid that many foster children rescued from sex traffickers, including children as young as 11, were never reported missing by child welfare authorities.
The fact is that modern slavery has its tentacles in all aspects of our lives — even girl scout cookies. As TFTP reported last year, a shocking investigation by the Associated Press into child labor revealed unsettling details about an ingredient in Girl Scout cookies and it its ties to child slave labor and sex trafficking. Palm oil. The $65 billion global palm oil industry is one of the largest food industries in the world and it is rooted in corruption and child abuse.
According to that report, these children are forced into labor camps and literally worked to death, sold into sex slavery, raped and abused.
According to the report, inside the palm oil industry, more than 33,000 children work there, many under hazardous conditions – with nearly half of them between the ages of 5 and 11.
As we begin this new year around the sun, humanity must do better.