Welcome everyone, my name is Emily Hewlitt and I am creating this blog as my final project for my Spring 2017 Journalism & Democracy course at Westchester Community College. The purpose of this blog is to shine light on and educate people on an issue that is underreported in the news media. The underreported story that I decided to focus my blog on is Modern Day Child Sex Slavery.
Throughout this past 2015-2016 year, the mainstream media has failed to properly cover sex trafficking of underage girls in the United States. In December 2015, D. Parvaz published “Selling American Girls,” a seven-part investigative report for Al Jazeera America that documented sex trafficking in the U.S.. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, human trafficking is the second-fastest-growing criminal enterprise after drug trafficking. Many pimps look for children who come from unstable family backgrounds or destitute neighborhoods. Special Agent Renea Green of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation shared with Al Jazeera America, “We had a trafficker tell us he looked for victims, for girls, walking home from the local Department of Family and Child Services office.” Even though 34 states have safe harbor laws which criminalize adults who purchase sex with a minor, these laws vary widely from state-to-state unfortunately, leaving many girls treated as criminals instead of victims. Most media coverage only routes from local news outlets, which tend to report specific instances of sex trafficking, rather than discussing the topic in a broader social context.
I like to consider myself an advocate for women’s rights and human rights, so the fact that this is a serious problem in the United States and very few people are educated about it makes me sick. Why is the Department of Family and Child Services still being publicly referred to as a “safe place” when that is where traffickers wait to abduct their next victims? Why is their little to no mainstream media coverage of such an important issue? Why are the men and women who buy these minors for sex not caught and brought to justice? When is the world going to stop seeing these sex slaves a criminals and start seeing them as the victims they are? How can we get involved and put a stop to child sex slavery in America? These are the questions I am going to try to answer through this blog for not only the education of others, but for myself. If I can change just one mind or educate one person on child sex slavery in the United States through this blog, then its purpose has been met. This issue might not be effecting you directly, but don’t wait until it happens to you or somebody you know to get involved. Join me in the fight to end this disgusting sex trafficking industry, bring the perpetrators to justice, and bring our children home.
I discovered this issue on Project Censored. Here is the link to the original article if you want to check out what inspired me to create this blog.