SisterSquad is committed to the fight against sex trafficking of youth.
Partner with us by supporting the sale of our apparel and know that with each sale, we make a contribution to local organizations whose mission is to stop child prostitution and provide safe harbor for victims.
What is sex trafficking?
Sex trafficking is human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, including sexual slavery.
Sex trafficking in the United States
The U.S. Justice Department estimates that each year 200,000 children are trafficked for sex in the U.S., and it is said to generate upward of $32 billion a year, NPR reports. Teens are being picked up on prostitution charges. It’s a stunning contradiction in the law: Girls who are too young to legally consent to sex are being prosecuted for selling it.
Sixteen states (including Minnesota in 2014) have passed safe harbor legislation for child victims of sex trafficking. The basic premise is to give law enforcement and prosecutors a way to divert children who have been prostituted from a juvenile delinquent proceeding and instead put them into what’s called a “child in need” proceeding. In some states without safe harbor laws, there are efforts to set up special courts specifically to deal with these cases. Statewide commitments are being created to recognize these young people as crime victims with unique vulnerabilities — not as criminals.
Organizations across the country are developing implementation of support programs for victims of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). After identifying the affected young people and getting them into a support network, the hope is to persuade their traumatized charges not to run away from their safe housing and back to their pimps who, while abusive, are at least familiar. Only once the cycle of running away is broken, the trafficked young people embrace treatment.
When victims turn 18, they're subject to criminal charges if a county attorney chooses to take that route, though they may still eligible for shelter and counseling services until the age of 24.
Victims can get lured into trafficking a number of ways, including through lovers who act as traffickers, by meeting perpetrators on social media or through dating apps, and through drug dealers who accept sex as a form of payment. Social media is a common lure - even the Scrabble-like phone app, "Words With Friends". Falsehoods, seduction, coercion and fear are all common tactics used by johns to lead innocent victims into an abusive, dangerous world.
“…Super Bowls are the single-largest trafficking event of the year.
Minnesota’s fight against sex trafficking is gearing up for the February 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis. That is like other conventions and large gatherings that attract traffickers who see potential for higher demand of their services. Research has found that online ads for adult services increase for big events — many of which advertise trafficked women.
Ahead of Super Bowl 52, planning has begun in a human trafficking prevention committee, which is learning all it can from past Super Bowl hosts. But already Minnesota is in a better position than previous hosts to tackle the issue as thousands of football fans descend on the state. Minnesota leads the nation on addressing sex trafficking, and its practices are looked to as a model for other states.
The Super Bowl is a chance to educate and target demand for trafficking directly, by educating men and boys about the negative impact and consequences. Many people believe most trafficking victims are from foreign countries, but 83 percent are U.S. citizens. They are kids that are often running from something, or potentially to something – oftentimes toward a person they initially perceive as a friend.
Researchers counted the increase in adult services ads placed during the time period of the Super Bowl. Much of the work Minnesota has already done was started in other states only after they were Super Bowl hosts. It has become an opportunity for agencies to interact and work together.” St. Cloud Times 2017
“We have to realize, recognize, admit, and internalize our self-worth. I am worthy of not having to be submissive to him or settle for this or that. I am worthy of the big white house and the picket fence, so many things. Once I realize my self-worth, then I will not just settle for anything and everything that comes my way.” – A Survivor finding her way home
As individuals, we may feel helpless when we learn about the daunting and shocking issue of childhood prostitution. But when we unite together, we can make a difference. That’s what SisterSquad is all about – supporting each other, banding together, strengthened to carry a much heavier load than we possibly can on our own. SisterSquad thanks you for joining with us in our shared hope!