Many people still do not believe that trafficking is happening in America. Texas is number two in the nation for children being trafficked. We work in Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking or DMST for short so that is what I will be referencing. In short that means American children being sold for sex.
I am going to go through some of the biggest misconceptions in DMST and how it happens in the United States, and specifically Texas.
Misconception #1: Texas is number two in the United States for child sex trafficking because we are on the border with Mexico.
FALSE. Remember we are talking about American children. Yes, there are Mexican children being brought into America but since they are not citizens they would be considered International trafficking victims which is an entirely different classification.
Misconception #2: The way most children get trafficked is they are kidnapped.
FALSE. Because kidnapping gets the most press people think that kidnapping is the way most children are trafficked. Trafficking of children happens mostly through runaways and trickery.
Misconception #3: Trafficking and prostitution are the same thing.
FALSE. Trafficking is done through force, fraud and coercion. Prostitution is often a choice and is done by adults. Because of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act any child that is prostituted by any means is considered a trafficking victim.
Misconception #4:The worst misconception of all is that these children are doing this by choice.
FALSE. Trafficking of children is a sophisticated system of taking vulnerable children who are often missing at least one parent, and manipulating them through threats of violence and harm. No little girl dreams of being a prostitute.
Understanding the truth and letting go of wrong misconceptions is the first step in understanding Child Sex Trafficking and having empathy for these victims. They are the most misunderstood and most traumatized children in the nation. Understanding what happens to them is the first step in caring and supporting these children so that they can be healed and go on to lead a productive life.