Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Child Prostitution In The U.S., By The Numbers

These numbers are debatable and have been questioned by numerous people in the anti-trafficking community. I found how DOJ calculated the first number:

"That raises perhaps the most frequently cited number around child sex trafficking -- that 200,000 to 300,000 U.S. youths are AT RISK of sexual exploitation. The U.S. Department of Justice lists the number on its website. Local law enforcement agencies, McKeel's office and others have repeated it, and everyone from UNICEF, CNN, The Oregonian and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children have printed it.

The figure is problematic on two fronts. One, advocates often cite it as the number of children in the sex trade -- not just the number at risk of sexual exploitation. Worse, the figure is based on faulty statistics from a 2001 University of Pennsylvania study by Richard Estes and Neil Weiner.

The study took data from an earlier study by Finkelhor, the University of New Hampshire researcher, that counted the number of runaway youths. The Pennsylvania study's authors then came up with a percentage of these kids they believed to be at risk of sexual exploitation of any kind based on interviews with fewer than 300 teens. It was, Finkelhor said, a guess. "


Please read my responses at the bottom. Add your opinion and ideas as well. Talk about if this number is important when thinking of combating the problem... and how is would be possible to calculate it or track the number of victims?



100,000-300,000: The number of children sold for sex in the U.S. each year
12-14: The average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution
11-13: The average age at which boys and transgendered youth enter into prostitution
55 percent: The proportion of girls living on the streets in the U.S. engaged in formal prostitution
30 percent: The proportion of youth living in shelters who are sexually exploited
75 percent: The proportion of girls engaged in prostitution who are working for a pimp
One-fifth: The fraction of exploited children who are trafficked nationally
$150,000-$200,000: The amount a pimp can make each year, per child
76 percent: The proportion of transactions for sex with underage girls conducted via the Internet

Sources: Justice Department, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Demi & Ashton Foundation

4 comments:

  1. A first question: how accurate are these numbers?

    There are several good reasons to disagree with them. To give you an example, have a look at this post, from an ex-escort. There are several other similar posts over the internet mentioning similar reasons for doubting these estimates.

    In order to successfully address a real problem, one has to know it in reality. What the real numbers are has an impact on the best solution. More research on these numbers is extremely important for deciding what to do.

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  2. Asehpe... thank you for questioning these numbers; I believe we need to take everything with a grain of salt and realize that the research on these numbers is mediocre at best. I completely agree with the uncertainty of these numbers and the demand for an increase in research. Your guess is a good as mine on how accurate these numbers are. No one knows the real number; however, that should not stop one for taking action against a problem like this. But what difference does it make arguing the number of victims, if we can not find the truth in numbers at this time? Suggesting that there are less victims in the US, is like like telling me there are 3 people inside of a burning house rather than 10. For me, it does not matter if there are 100 victims or a million- the problem needs to be addressed.

    Like Siddarth Kara says during the BCC world debate that how tightly we define of human trafficking effects these numbers statistics of victims. Loosening the definition of force, slavery, and coercion and what it means to be trafficking can raise the number of victims in the world and vice versa.

    As for Dave's comment on my Cambodia post(http://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/numerology/). I think that its great if there are more rescue workers than there are sex workers (I would like to see this article). How are you supposed to fight something like sex trafficking without adequate personal. I agree that it could come to a point of too many people. Imagine if there were more people working on sex trafficking in the US than there were victims. That would be impressive and a step in the right direction, don't you agree?

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  3. I was just researching the number more and found this and thought it would be good to share with you and the rest of the readers.

    "That raises perhaps the most frequently cited number around child sex trafficking -- that 200,000 to 300,000 U.S. youths are AT RISK of sexual exploitation. The U.S. Department of Justice lists the number on its website. Local law enforcement agencies, McKeel's office and others have repeated it, and everyone from UNICEF, CNN, The Oregonian and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children have printed it.

    The figure is problematic on two fronts. One, advocates often cite it as the number of children in the sex trade -- not just the number at risk of sexual exploitation. Worse, the figure is based on faulty statistics from a 2001 University of Pennsylvania study by Richard Estes and Neil Weiner.

    The study took data from an earlier study by Finkelhor, the University of New Hampshire researcher, that counted the number of runaway youths. The Pennsylvania study's authors then came up with a percentage of these kids they believed to be at risk of sexual exploitation of any kind based on interviews with fewer than 300 teens. It was, Finkelhor said, a guess. "

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2011/01/portland_child_sex_trafficking.html

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  4. Hello Dear!!

    Your statement "Suggesting that there are less victims in the US, is like like telling me there are 3 people inside of a burning house rather than 10. For me, it does not matter if there are 100 victims or a million- the problem needs to be addressed." I agree with.

    However many people equate sex slavery and trafficking with prostitution in general and it couldn't be further from the truth. There are many, many adult voluntary sex workers who are also against child prostitution and forced trafficking and are in a better position than law enforcement or your average citizen to help combat this. However, due to fear of persecution by both law enforcement and society and the fear of losing our personal freedoms and liberty hinder us greatly in aiding against it. Therefore, we tend to wonder if this is an attack on ALL prostitutes or if it is truly a matter of saving the vulnerable women and children at risk. Take the resources that are used to set up and prosecute consenting adults engaging in a mutual beneficial transaction and use it instead to seek out and rescue the victims.

    BD

    ReplyDelete