Sex Trade 101, Part II: Innocence lost

I can’t think of a more heartbreaking aspect of sexual trafficking than the trauma endured by young children who are used and abused sexually.  This is the reality of the sex trade.  Innocence lost.  Lives imperiled.  Hopelessness and despair.  Emotional and mental abuse.  Lifelong scars.  Shorted lifespans.


“Nina”, an underage sex slave in a brothel in South East Asia.


Blogging with The Exodus Road has been an eye-opener.  I remember seeing posters of missing children, some on milk boxes, others in stores and supermarkets.  I’d think about them but never made the connection to human trafficking.  But the link is there, and very real.  Learning more about sexual slavery, especially of minors, has shifted my perspective and made me far more aware of and sensitive to such cases.  

Take a look at these statistics.

  • Human rights investigators have discovered that minors can be typically sold an average of 10-15 times a day, 6 days a week, totaling between 9,360 and 14,040 sex acts a year. The minors receive none of the money from this activity. (Source: Shared Hope International)
  • According to the California Child Welfare Council, kids as young as 10 are being peddled for sex every day in Los Angeles County.  The average life expectancy of children who enter the sex trade is seven years. This means, on average, a child forced into prostitution at age 12 will be dead by 19.  (Source: Daily Breeze article by Christina Villacorte)

Is it all doom and gloom?  In the big picture… well, the very thought of 21 million persons enslaved worldwide today is mind-boggling.  Trafficking is the most lucrative criminal activity, surpassing even the international drug trade.  A business raking in $32 billion each year would make any sane person’s head spin.  So those who have no qualms about selling, using, and abusing children for profit are spurred on in their sickening enterprise by the pile of money to be made.

I often think of Luke 17:2 and Jesus’s indictment of those who  harm His little ones, whether spiritually or physically:  

“It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”  

And the millstone is being hung.  Take, for example, the recent sentencing of a 23-year-old in California who tried to lure a 13-year-old into trafficking.  And a trafficking ring that included minors in Houston was recently broken up.  The ringleader was a 66-year-old woman!


We all can do something, no matter how small the act.  Making a difference could look like:

  • Talking about modern-day slavery whenever an opportunity occurs. The new movie 12 Years a Slave is a great jump-off point for such conversations.
  • Learning more about trafficking statistics in your city or town.
  • Sharing posts like this one on your social media sites.
  • Reading up on trafficking on the websites of organizations committed to ending slavery, such as The Exodus RoadThe A21 Campaign, Abolition International, Stella’s Voice, and Polaris Project.
  • Funding the fight against trafficking.  The Exodus Road’s Search and Rescue challenge is a case in point.  If an 8-year-old could donate half the profits of his first novel to support victims of trafficking, surely we can come up with ways to put our money to work to bring sex slavery to an end!

start where you are

In an opinion piece on CNN yesterday, Polaris Project’s Bradley Myles shared tips on how to serve as a 21st-century abolitionist:

 All of us can help create that moment of opportunity: Learn about modern slavery and recognize its signs. Share the national hotline number and post fliers in places where vulnerable populations might see it. . . . Urge your elected leaders to pass stronger anti-slavery laws that crack down on traffickers and protect survivors. Support efforts nationally or in your community that are building a movement against modern slavery.

 be the change

Which of the five ways of making a difference regarding sexual trafficking appeals to you the most?  How will you be intentional about making a difference in the lives of young victims of sexual slavery?


  1. Alison those statistics are startling. I didn’t realize just how lucrative sex-trafficking is. Thanks for for educating us.
    Wanda recently posted..When You’re Stuck on RepeatMy Profile

  2. The statistics are so shocking and of course I initially had the thoughts of, “Well that doesn’t happen around here, does it?” And really – it probably does. And also – it doesn’t matter. We can all do something to help, no matter where it’s happening.
    Tamara recently posted..Life. You’re Doing It Right. (Sometimes)My Profile

  3. My stomach is just sick reading this.. the tragedy and evil presence is around us- in every nook and cranny in our world, our country, our state and probably our city.
    Thank you for sharing this information, my sweet friend. I want to share as much as I can and do as much as I can…
    Makes me so sick. So sick.
    Chris Carter recently posted..Devotional Diary: PeaceMy Profile

    • It is genuinely sickening, Chris. It leaves such a pain in the pit of my stomach. But it also galvanizes me to spread awareness so that we can keep our eyes and ears open. It’s all around us, unfortunately.
      Alison recently posted..The loveliest smileMy Profile

  4. Donation! This is so alarming. I didn’t realize while watching taken that this was so popular in the states.
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  5. Chelle B. says:

    As a survivor of child sex abuse, this issue hits so close to home. I’ve been wanting to do something to help victims for a long time now and I’m finally in a position to do just that. Thank you for this post, it reminded me just how important it is that I keep my focus and actually make an impact so that I can help other victims become survivors, like myself. <3
    Chelle B. recently posted..CommittedMy Profile

    • Chelle, I’m so sorry for what you endured. You’re correct in choosing to focus on making a difference in the lives of other survivors. The need is real and deep. I’m so glad to have the opportunity to shed light on what I consider to be a heinous crime being perpetrated all over the world. Each of us can truly make a difference!
      Alison recently posted..The loveliest smileMy Profile

  6. Continuing to share posts like this is a powerful way to make people aware. The statistics are alarming. I am definitely more aware because of this information that you wrote about.
    Kimberly H. Smith recently posted..Ghosts of Halloweens PastMy Profile

  7. OMG I can’t believe this is that bad I need to read more up on this I have heard about it and I know it is bad but didn’t think this bad we must do more about it to keep our babies safe. People are so sick it makes me sick
    Kita recently posted..Baked Pork ChopsMy Profile

  8. I love that you end this post with tips on how we can act to make a difference. I read statistics and stories like these and wonder why I consider having another child. My mom tells me to pray and to not be fearful, but I must admit that I get so disgusted and hurt by the atrocities are children suffer from. Thank you for shedding light on this very important and touchy topic.
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    • Andrea, thanks. Your mom is right: we can’t be fearful. We have to step up and do what we can to help set free those who remain captive in a cruel and degrading industry. It can be done as each of us intentionally chooses to help out.
      Alison recently posted..The loveliest smileMy Profile

  9. This just makes me sick Alison! That scripture is so true…for all of those who hurt His little ones…….! Those statistics are mind boggling! THANK YOU for all you do in helping spread this very important message my friend! I’m sharing!
    Michell recently posted..“Michell’s Weekly Pearl”…(Should I Tell Him How I Really Feel)My Profile

    • Michell, thanks. Sharing is caring–not for me or this post, but for those who continue to suffer what must be to them a totally hopeless situation. We are in a position to bring hope, and freedom, to those in bondage. It’s our Christian duty, at least to my way of thinking.
      Alison recently posted..The loveliest smileMy Profile

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