There’s an evil in our midst: Selling children for sex. For years, we’ve known about this—but generally only thought it takes place in other countries. We’ve been duped into believing it only happens in places where impoverished parents sell their kids to brothel owners. Heinous, we think, but not here.
But a quick look at recent headlines tells a very different story.
According to a report released by a U.S. Senate investigative committee in January (covered in the March issue of Citizen), the domestic trafficking of children for sex has increased 846 percent over the last few years, due to the relative anonymity provided by Internet ads. This has moved the crime from public street corners to the privacy of hotel rooms and homes—and traffickers are profiting from it hand over fist with little fear of being caught.
Efforts to fight this scourge are on the uptick as well: According to a March 7 story posted on The Daily Wire, trafficking arrests soared from approximately 400 in 2014 to more than 1,500 in the first few weeks of the Trump administration. And there’s a plethora of wonderful organizations out there doing great work—from rescuing kids to providing much-needed services and aftercare.
There’s only one issue with that approach: It doesn’t eliminate the problem. While taking one kid out of the clutches of a trafficker definitely helps that child, on the larger scale, it only creates room for a new “product” to take her place. The cycle of demand and supply continues unabated.
But one group is working to change that dynamic. That’s why we’re proud to bring you this month’s story on DeliverFund, a relatively new organization that’s already making a huge dent in the trafficking industry. They gave Citizen unprecedented access to their inner workings so we can show you what’s really going on out there in the world.
Take a poll of everyone you know. Does anyone admit to being pro-slavery? Of course not. There’s no debate about this the way there is with other topics, like abortion or same-sex marriage. None. But that’s exactly what human trafficking is: A form of modern-day slavery.
As a result, this issue bridges literally every gap that divides our society—racial, socioeconomic, political, ideological and religious. Here, we can find common ground with people who might disagree with us on every other topic that might come up in our pages, and make a deeper impact as a result.
Therefore, you can expect to see a greater emphasis on the subject in future issues of Citizen. The more we can train the twin lasers of truth and awareness on human trafficking, the sooner we can eliminate it from our culture. And while we won’t be salacious or overly graphic in the way we go about doing that, we won’t shirk our duty by ignoring or sugarcoating it, either. Evil is evil. There are no two ways about that.
Knowledge is power. And we hope after reading this issue, you—as a mature adult—are more empowered than ever before to fight this evil in the city where you live.
Originally published in the May 2017 issue of Citizen magazine.