Child Sex Exploitation and the Silence of Our Culture

Family restoration for children who are victimized by sex trafficking is possible, if victimized innocent children can get legal representation for crimes they've been charged with, and protection from future trafficking.  This weekend Regent University's School of Law held a strategic symposium to begin to combat the horrific problem of child slavery in America today.  See http://www.regent.edu/symposium.

Linda Smith from Shared Hope International (www.sharesdhope.org)  challenged Regent law students and particpants to work toward advocating for the change of state laws that can protect children caught in trafficking and sex prostituion.  Her past experience as a member of the U.S. Congress combined with her work with Shared Hope has been extremely influential in rescuing victims and restoring them to society and their families, while prosecuting those who organize and profit from their victimization.  She was joined by Dr. Mohamed Matar, Executive Director of the Protection Project, and other experts in the issue who are involved in prosecuting these crimes.

Getting justice for child victims  requires special expterise - first to identify a victim, then to identify his or her facilitator, then to identify buyers and suppliers - then to use the correct statutes to prosecute the crimes.  Adolescents cannot give consent to their own victimization because they have no legal capacity to do so being children.  My article "Tracing the Foundations of the Best Interest of the Child Standard in American Jurisprudence," at 10 J. L. Family Studies 337 (2008), details the lack of capacity of children to consent to anything, which certainly includes their own prostitution.  Other scholarship has also shed light on the failure of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child to protect children from sex trafficking and domestic labor, in my ariticle published by the New York International Law Review called "Suffer the Children: How the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Has Not Supported Children," available at 22 N.Y.I.L. Rev. 1 (2009).  

During the Symposium Regent Law launched the Center for Global Justce, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law.  This Center will be strategic in training future lawyers in the advocacy for child victims, as well as any human being who has been manipulated into the lucrative system of human trafficking.  The Center funds law student internships around the globe, as well as right here in the United States, to protect children and their families - with the hope of restoring them to each other.   "For Christ came that we might have life, and have it abundantly."  John 10:10  

No person should ever be exploited for any purpose.  Protecting child victims of sex trafficking is key to alerting our culture of this horror and its destruction of families.  For more information on how you can be involved in the Center for Global Justice, see http://www.regent.edu/acad/schlaw/globaljustice/home/cfm.


  1. I was able to attend the symposium, and I must say that my eyes were opened to the problem of domestic minor sex trafficking in America. It is amazing to me that Americans have allowed such a horrific crime to take place in their own neighborhoods. Linda Smith mentioned that experts estimate 100,000 minors presently are involved in sex trafficking in America. This number is sobering, and I pray that more Americans will become aware of this problem and desire to prevent trafficking here in America.

  2. This summer I had the opportunity to intern with the A21 Campaign in Thessaloniki, Greece. The A21 Campaign is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to fighting human trafficking. My job was to conduct research on the trafficking situation in Greece and create a report for the United States Department of State. Based off the information I collected, the State Department formed about 2-3 paragraphs explaining how human trafficking has affected Greece in its Trafficking in Persons Report.

    Some of the research I discovered was extremely disheartening. For instance, the inhumane treatment of immigrants in detention centers was a huge problem. As a result, traffickers would tell women to go into Greece through the border at Alexandropoulis. When they suffered this inhumane treatment, the traffickers would have taxi men lined up to provide the various women rides to their destination, which was usually Athens. Athens is an 8 hour drive from Alexandropoulis, which would mean a heavy taxi debt. Once the women arrived at their destination, the trafficker would meet them and they would be eternally thankful that the trafficker "saved" them. At this point the trafficker would play a psychological game on the women. First, the trafficker would ask the women to do something for him since he "rescued" them. He would ask for them to sell themselves for sex. Some would and for those who would not, the trafficker would tell the girl that she is indebted to him because the cab ride was about $1000. Moreover, traffickers will usually lock the girl in an apartment and beat her and drug her until she finally submits to his will.

    It is disgusting what is going on in Greece, but the same thing is happening here in the United States. It's a sad reality which the State Department, foreign governments, and NGO's are trying to combat. I do not know if human trafficking will ever be eradicated, but by spreading awareness, the chances of preventing it increase.