January 11 has been recognized as Human Trafficking Awareness Day around the world. The U.S. Senate passed a resolution on June 22, 2007 that declared January 11, a day of awareness and action for the countless victims of modern-day slavery around the globe.
Karen Gail of Petersburg is Miss Community Clovia’s guest on 99.3/105.7 Kiss Fm. She was sexually abused from the age of 7 to 17 by her cousin. Gail says human trafficking could be happening in our homes and we don’t know it. Gail is executive director of Pearl’s Center of Hope, Inc. View the website at Pearls4Hope.com.
Human Trafficking is a multi-billion dollar business in the United States. Every 10 minutes 10-12 children are victimized by human trafficking that’s 60 children an hour. The United States purchases more women and children for sex than any country in the world with a target population as young as 12 years of age. It is estimated that the average age of victims coerced into sex trafficking is between 12-14 years of age (Pearl’s Center of Hope, Inc).
What does human trafficking look like in Northern Virginia? It is a modern-day form of slavery known as teen sex trafficking. This is a region of the busy parents, some wealthy, and broken homes. Traffickers prey on the lonely and vulnerable.
The Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force (NOVA HTTF) reported the following trafficking statistics for our area from October 2013 through January 2015:
290 victims identified (minors: 47, Adult:243)
17 current cases (two of which account for about 160 victims)
115 victims recovered
94 identified suspects (traffickers)
Did you know that Virginia has the 8th highest call volume for Human Trafficking victims of all 50 states and Washington, D.C.? National Human Trafficking Resource Center reports receiving 624 consistent calls from Virginia because interstates 64, 95, and 295 all intersect in Richmond, it makes this city an attractive place for traffickers to do business.
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