Earlier this week we posted articles addressing instances of sex trafficking and the Superbowl in the U.S. The lesson we took away from looking at these articles was that often it is easy to overlook the realities of trafficking in the U.S. by participating in spreading incorrect information about its occurrence.
The lesson was driven home yet again when we saw this article from the Denver Channel, “14 Indicted in Child Prostitution, Human Trafficking Ring.” Read the article here: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/30334550/detail.html.
Local police authorities recently arrested 14 individuals on 70 charges of human trafficking and child prostitution in the Denver, Boulder, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, and Lakewood areas. The story fits with the research that has been done on sex trafficking in the U.S. In the U.S., this is often referred to as Commercial Sexual Exploitation. It is defined as sexual activity involving a child in exchange for something of value, or promise thereof, to the child or another person or persons. The child is treated as a commercial and sexual object. It is estimated that the most frequent age of entry into the commercial sex industry in the U.S. is between the ages of 12-14 (www.usdoj.gov) and that there are between 100,000-300,000 children at risk for commercial sexual exploitation each year (Estes & Weiner, 2001).
As we think about sex trafficking in Cambodia we also want to be aware of and acknowledge sex trafficking happening right where we are.