“Taken” is a riveting movie where a father searches for his daughter, who is kidnapped and enslaved into the sex traffic trade. The movie gives an inside look at the recruitment and exploitation of these victims of organized crime. It is an important movie because it brings into the public’s mind a significant human rights issue. The trafficking of children and young women for sexual exploitation has dramatically increased in the past decade. And for the most part, the public is ignorant that this is also a problem in the United States.
Mirroring the movie, organized crime dominates the sexual trafficking industry. The sale of women and children on an international level is believed to be hugely profitable, with only narcotic and weapons sales exceeding it. The United States seems to serve more as a destination point, than as an originating country. However, American children and young women who are “recruited” appear to be sent to countries such as Germany and Japan that have a large sex trafficking industry.
The lifestyle imposed upon these sexually exploited victims is horrendous. They have no control over the location or hours they work. Traffickers move these women and children around the globe to maximize the demand for different young women and children to potential buyers. There is a physical and psychological toll upon these victims who may be sexually exploited several times a day. Mental health issues are a problem with these victims and once they are no longer profitable, they are replaced.
Become involved in educating people that sex trafficking is indeed a problem and lobby your community leaders to expose this growing problem.
Reference: Hodge, D. (2008). Sexual Trafficking in the United States: A Domestic Problem with Transnational Dimensions. Social Work, 53, 143-152.
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Author: Evelyn Wenzel, MSW, LCSW, CAP