Did you know that tattoo artists are on the front lines in the fight against child sex trafficking in the U.S.? That's because a common practice of pimps that sell teen girls for sex is to compel the girls to get tattoos, indicating they are the pimp's property.
An example of this form of abuse happened recently in Brooklyn. To break in a 15-year-old girl he had just started to control, a local pimp took her to a tattoo shop, presented himself as her legal guardian, and forced her to get his nickname tattooed on her body. The tattoo was for both traffickers and victim, a permanent sign of ownership.
If tattoo artists know the signs of human trafficking, they can help prevent pimps from using tattoos to brand sex trafficking victims as property and report suspected cases of abuse to the police.
Ask the National Tattoo Association to incorporate training on the link between sex trafficking and tattoos into their 2012 National Conference.