The FBI announced that they rescued 105 kids, and arrested 150 pimps, during three-day series of raids across the country. This is all a part of the FBI’s ten-year-long project called Operation Cross Country, and an initiative with the heartbreaking name of Lost Innocence.
Some of these kids were as young as 13 years old.
The Justice Department reports that about one-third of homeless kids will be lured toward prostitution within two days of being on the street or less. According to the Polaris Project, an organization that works to end human trafficking and modern-day slavery, there are nearly 100,000 children in the commercial sex trade here in the US.
Here are a few things you can do to address human trafficking and forced prostitution:
1. Learn the red flags — things like living with an employer in poor living conditions, or signs of physical abuse.
2. Share the number for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center – 1-888-3737-888.
3. Support local homeless shelters for youth, like Denver’s Urban Peak, that offer kids support, safe shelter, warm meals, and help kids get off the street.
4. Learn how to take action from the Polaris Project, like by signing the Kids, Not Criminals Petition that asks lawmakers in all states to recognize that kids who are forced into prostitution should not be arrested and sent to juvenile detention facilities.
5. Read Rachel Lloyd’s memoir Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, and then take action to support GEMS’ work to end commercial sex trafficking and the exploitation of children.