Our guest blogger is Malika Saada Saar, the executive director of Rights4Girls, a U.S. based human rights organization for young women and girls.
On the 150th anniversary of when President Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which set the date for the freedom of more than 3 million enslaved Americans, President Obama called for the end of modern day slavery. The president’s historical speech delivered at the Clinton Global Initiative, called for major policy changes, at home and abroad, to combat the enslavement of millions of women, men and children.
Many of the slaves today are girls. Born in America. Hidden in plain view.
They are the lost girls, standing around bus stops, hanging out by runaway youth shelters, or advertised online. At the Motel 8 or the Marriott, at McDonalds or the clubs.
According to the FBI, there are currently an estimated 293,000 American children at risk of being exploited and trafficked for sex. Forty percent of all human trafficking cases opened for investigation between January 2008 and June 2010 were for the sexual trafficking of a child. And while the term trafficking may conjure images of desperate illegal immigrants being forced into prostitution by human smugglers, 83 percent of victims in confirmed sex trafficking cases in this country were American citizens.
The majority of these children being sold for sex are girls between the ages of 12 and 14. They are girls abducted or lured by traffickers and then routinely raped, beaten into submission, and sometimes even branded. When the girls try to run away, their traffickers torture and or gang rape them.