We know that human trafficking in general, and sexual exploitation of children specifically is a global issue. It is also a complex situation, fueled by a lack of value for life, poverty, growth in the global sex market, uneven development, corruption of officials, cultural practices, and the lack of political will to end it.
We know human trafficking is a one of the fastest growing crimes in the world per the U.S. State Department. Every product has a market. Human trafficking is no exception. The supply-side of human trafficking are the very vulnerable; the demand-side are those who buy. It is not a local issue any more, but a global one.
The most vulnerable and exploited are children, especially in one part of the human trafficking industry – sexual exploitation. The average age of entry for children victimized by the sex trade industry is 12 years per the U.S. Department of Justice. Many non-profit organizations reach out to rescue and restore to children caught in this web.
On the governmental side, the FBI began an international task force in 2004 called the Violent Crimes Against Children International Task Force (VCACITF). It is now the largest task force of its kind in the world. International law enforcement experts from 40 countries work together to identify and bring to justice anyone involved in violent child sexual exploitation activities, whether online or in person, and to identify and rescue the victims of these crimes – no matter where in the world they may be.
This task force allows for the real-time transfer of information between the FBI and other international members to address the global crime problem of online child exploitation.
One of their target areas is child sex tourism defined as travel abroad to engage in the commercial sexual exploitation of a child under the age of 18. Some offenders plan their travel through tour companies or tour operators; others plan their travel independently using information from pedophile newsgroups and forums on the Internet. In countries that have a commercial sex industry, information can be obtained through taxi drivers, hotel concierges, newspaper advertisements, etc.
Studies show Southeast Asian countries, and Cambodia, the Philippines, and Thailand in particular are the most common destinations for child sex tourism. An estimated 25 percent of child sex tourists in the above Southeast Asian countries are U.S. citizens.
This is a global issue. Eradication takes all of us. Get involved. Join us and others to end modern-day slavery – one life at a time!