Each year in the United States at least 100,000 children are victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Our children are being sold for sex on street corners, through escort services, and online. These victims need safe shelter and treatment, but in the United States today there are only 80 beds available for them. That leaves thousands of sexually exploited children who are unable to access shelter beds or other services.
The average age a child is first bought and sold for sex is 13 years old. Due to the violence they, these children may suffer from post-traumatic stress, sexually transmitted infections, substance abuse, and long-term health problems. When rehabilitation is absent, these victims risk continued sexual exploitation. Without proper identification of victims and treatment, these children face extreme lifelong challenges.
S. 596 addresses the severe lack of services for child sex trafficking in the United States. The "Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2011" awards six block grants to state or local entities who have a plan to investigate, prosecute and deter sex trafficking, while at the same time providing special services and shelter to victims.
There is an urgent need to move this bill now. Take Action to support s. 596!
Photo Credit: Teddy-Rised