6.18.2014

Beaten, branded & abused: The horror of young girls and women forced into prostitution and sex slavery

By Charlene Muhammad

LOS ANGELES (FinalCall.com) - Pimping, or sex trafficking, is a multi-billion dollar industry: Some say $64 billion worldwide and approximately $10 billion inside America. But at this moment, somewhere in your community, perhaps near your home, a predator is likely working to make $150,000 to $300,000 a year by selling the bodies of Black teenage girls.

The average pimp has four to six girls, according to statistics from the U.S. Justice Department and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 

While many 13- to 14-year-old girls are being groomed for academic decathlons, recruited for middle and high school sports or drama clubs, others that age are being groomed for sex work. Girls are raped, beaten, branded, indoctrinated, and sold day in and day out in a lucrative sex trade.

Survivors and advocates want the horror clearly identified as sex trafficking and not prostitution, especially when it comes to minors. “Child prostitution and Johns are two words that should not exist when addressing child sex trafficking because a child cannot commit to commercial sex according to state and federal law,” said Lt. Andre Dawson, officer-in-charge of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Human Trafficking Division, which is responsible for getting pimps off the streets.

Lt. Dawson said society needs a major shift: Children involved aren’t criminals, they’re victims. The buyers aren’t Johns, or sex purchasers, they’re rapists, he said.

Law enforcement advocates like Mary Howard, an officer and president of the Nu Alpha Delta Multicultural Sorority, a non-profit organization, agreed. 

The sorority, comprised of women from various professional, organizational and faith backgrounds, has joined a growing movement of those outraged and ready to fight sex trafficking.

The sorority hosted a day-long “2014 Human Trafficking Intervention Forum” at Good Shepherd Missionary Baptist 

Church of Los Angeles. A second forum was held at Citizen Missionary Baptist Church in Compton. The problem is real, Ms. Howard said. “We in the community need to embrace this (fight) and not wait until one of our youth or loved ones is a statistic,” she said. [READ MORE]