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The human cost of trafficking

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The holiday season brings the hope that every child will experience the magic and excitement of the season. Yet the enjoyment of such scenes is very far from reality for the world’s most vulnerable kids. Every year, an estimated 2 million children worldwide are exploited in sex trafficking. Also, the number of child victims of labor trafficking is expected to escalate due to the current global economic crisis. And whether we are ready to believe the stark reality or not, some kids in America will be exploited in sex or labor trafficking during the holidays.

While the hidden nature of human trafficking reduces the availability of reliable data on the number of child victims in the United States, we now have a clearer depiction of the childhood circumstances that lead certain children down a treacherous pathway into the dark and exploitive crime of human trafficking. Child advocates have warned that our most vulnerable girls and boys are at risk for the unthinkable — victimization in sex or labor trafficking. However, large scale studies on human trafficking are almost impossible to conduct, leaving many questions about which children are at highest risk. But that has recently started to change.

In a study published this week in the American Journal of Public Health, we and our colleagues compared the level and type of childhood adversity experienced by boys and girls exploited in human trafficking to the childhood adversity experienced by similar boys and girls of the same race/ethnicity, household income level, and from the same locality. This study was the first to examine the childhood histories of over 900 girls and boys detained by the Florida juvenile justice system who had each been the subject of an official abuse report and child protective investigation related to human trafficking.

We found that girls and boys exploited in human trafficking experienced more childhood adversity — including childhood sexual abuse, emotional abuse, emotional and physical neglect and family violence — than the matched sample of similar youth.

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1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.

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