“About two million children are trafficked worldwide each year.” And the average age a child is first trafficked is between 12 and 14. You may have seen them. They are often mistaken for prostitutes, servants, or migrant farm workers, but look beneath the surface. Child labor trafficking victims are often malnourished and much smaller than average, with malformed or rotting teeth. Children who are sex trafficked often have sexually transmitted diseases, urinary tract infections, and kidney problems that are mostly untreated. A child who lives at their workplace or with their employer, lives with multiple people in a cramped space (not a school), or frequently misses school or does not attend school at all–may also be signs of trafficking.
Children who are trafficked may have evidence of abuse such as scars, headaches, hearing loss, cardiovascular or respiratory problems, and limb amputation–all as a result of physical abuse. They may also show signs of back, visual, and respiratory problems, not to mention the psychological effects trafficking have on them. Children who are trafficked tend to feel helpless, ashamed and humiliated, shocked, depressed, disoriented and confused, and often are in denial. They also tend to display PTSD and other anxiety disorders.
So what can we do? Aside from volunteering to help at risk populations (contact USC’s social justice group for more information), there are some specific events coming up this month to help trafficking victims. First, Justice Speaks is coming to USC April 11th and 12th. To register, go online to this website: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/kalah-2014-tickets-10712570587?aff=eorg. Second, on April 26, there is going to be a rally and march against child sex trafficking at 9:30 am at Western Ave between MLK Blvd and Slauson Ave. Hope to see you there!
1) Look Beneath the Surface pamphlets from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families.