Miranda fumed that her parents forbade her from going to the big party after the high school football game. It was so unfair that they didn’t trust her. She vented her woes to Sally as they walked home, and threatened to run away. Afterall, she was old enough to take care of herself, and she didn’t need all those stupid rules.
Nancy had been walking behind the girls, and came up to commiserate with Miranda. She, too, had parents who were too old-fashioned and square, and put too many requirements on a girl who wanted freedom. But she had found a wonderful young man who let her stay at his place and showered her with new clothes, electronic gadgets and some nice trips. Miranda would be welcome to stay there as well, since this friend was rich and so kind.
After yet another fight with her parents when she got home, Miranda knew she had to get out. She called Nancy and arranged a time and place to meet. The girls began walking down the street, and a car with three men pulled up beside them. Nancy seemed to know them and encouraged Miranda to get in the car. Having a sick feeling in her stomach, Miranda started to walk away, but was grabbed by one of the men, gagged and thrown into the back seat.
Half an hour later, she found herself in an apratment with her mouth duct-taped and hands bound. She was immediately raped by her captors who hit her each time she tried to struggle or resist. Within a few hours, the teen was introduced to the world of sex trafficking where she was drugged enough to be compliant while she provided sexual encounters with 10-15 men each night.
Fortunately, the police found Miranda within a few weeks, after they had been to the apartment a few times on tips of prostitution activity. She had been present each time, but had been too terrified to call out from her hidden place. She was finally found stuffed into a drawer under the bed. When the police weren’t present, and she wasn’t servicing johns, this young girl had been forced to stay in a dog cage.
This scenario is similar to a real case which happened in Phoenix, Arizona in 2005. It is documented on the film Branded, which was produced by Food For the Hungry and StreetLight Phoenix. Up to 300,000 teens and pre-teens each year are caught up in slavery in the sex trades, and a growing proportion of these are being recruited by other teens within the schools. Often, these will be girls or boys who are already connected to a pimp and have been engaged to bring in other students to be exploited. Contacts are made at student gatherings or by befriending an individual who is having a hard time. The teens may be promised a wonderful new life instead of the “oppressiveness” they have at home, and they are lured to meet the pimp.
The US Department of Education has recognized the increasing danger that vulnerable students face from their own peers. They have created a fact sheet for teachers and schools to aid in recognizing children who have already been entangled in sex trafficking. Girls between the ages of 12 and 17 are most often targeted for commercial sexual exploitation, and perpetrators (both johns and pimps) violate federal anti-trafficking laws, even if there is no coercion or movement across state lines.
Next: Who is vulnerable to be drawn into sex slavery?
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(c) 2011 Holly Craw. All rights reserved. You may link to this article or take an excerpt with due attribution to the author and a link back to this original article. Mention your link below to get a shoutout.