Children, sold hour after hour after hour, day after day, week after week, mostly for reasons of sex.
Right here, in the land of the free, and the home of the brave. Children just like the ones that live in your home. Children just like the ones you are related to. Children just like the ones that live in your neighborhood.
In the first few days of February of 2017 alone, several arrests of child sex traffickers were reported. In Caliornia, over 470 people were arrested over a three day period as the state’s “Operation Reclaim and Rebuild rescued dozens of children, many of them taken from the foster care system in some way. 22 more were arrested in Detroit, Michigan, this time at North American International Auto Show, as police rescued two more young children, under the age of 16. In Dallas, Texas, during the same month, a 15 year old girlwas rescued from a child sex trafficker. Another 16 year old girl, also from Texas, was also a victim of child sex trafficking. Police arrested an individual in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this time rescuing three minors from child sex trafficking.
Modern day slavery does exist. Right here, in America.
Yet, so many refuse to acknowledge it. So many in our society turn away. Why is this?
Child sex trafficking makes us feel uncomfortable. It is not something we want to discuss, as the realities of it are heart wrenching, are disturbing, are tragic. Yet, child sex trafficking is happening, today, all around us. It is in our cities, and even in our neighborhoods. And it is happening to our children, with the average age of a child being trafficked at only 12 years old. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn put it wisely when she said, “They’re not even old enough to go to a prom, not even old enough to get a driver’s license and yet we still are seeing more and more of it on the Internet.” The number of children being contacted by sexual predators online is disturbing and astounding at the same time. Approximately one out of every seven children is sexually contacted, or solicited, by a predator while online. Furthermore, many of these children are seriously pursued online by these predators, singling out these children in an attempt to lure them in.
Annika Mack, who now sits on the Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) Action Team and is a public speaker about child sex trafficking , was a runaway youth at the age of 16. The young teenager was trying to escape the sexual and physical abuse she was receiving at home. Over the next twelve months, Annika was running from one state to another. According to Annika, “One day, as I was getting ready to get on a bus to travel to another state, a car pulled up with a girl who looked younger than me. She asked me if I wanted to party, I said yes. Later that night, I met the girl’s pimp, and was trafficked by him. It led to kidnapping, torture (Russian Roulette, pistol whipping, water boarding) and domestic servitude and sex trafficking. My trafficker was a gorilla pimp, which mean he used extreme amounts of violence and fear to keep me scared to leave.” After being on the end of several severe beatings, Annika was able to escape her trafficker, and ended up in the hospital, where she was hospitalized for a month and had 12 surgeries.
Tragically, there are thousands of children today, in the United States alone, who are being beaten and are trafficked, just like Annika. For Annika, she is a survivor, and is building a new life, one filled with hope. For thousands of others, the day to day, and moment to moment horrors continue.
Modern day slavery exists, and it is all around you.
Originally posted on huffingtonpost.com
John DeGarmo, Ed.D.
Born in 1969, Dr. John DeGarmo has worn many hats throughout his life. Singing and dancing while touring around the world in the international super group, Up With People, serving as a D.J. at four different radio stations on two different continents, working in the professional wrestling industry, teaching English and Drama at the high school level, and working as a media specialist at two different schools, Dr. DeGarmo has had a variety of experiences.
Dr. DeGarmo has a B.A. in History, a Masters in Media Technology, a Masters in Educational Leadership, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Walden University. Dr. DeGarmo wrote his dissertation on Responding to the Needs of Foster Children Face While in Rural Schools. He is the author of several foster care books, including the training book The Foster Parenting Manual: A Practical Guide to Creating a Loving, Safe, and Stable Home, as well as the foster care children’s book A Different Home: A New Foster Child’s Story. Dr. DeGarmo is a dynamic speaker and informative trainer on the foster care system, and travels extensively, meeting with foster parents, child welfare workers, churches, schools, and organizations. He writes regularly for many magazines, and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, several publications, and newsletters, both in the United States and in Europe.
Dr. DeGarmo is married to Dr. Kelly DeGarmo, who hails from Australia, and the two of them have six children, both biological and adoptive. Dr. DeGarmo and his wife are also currently foster parents to three siblings, bringing their household to nine children. Dr. DeGarmo has been a foster parent for dozens of children for over a decade now. He has a passion for foster children, and is driven to bring education and insight into general society about all things foster care.
Dr. DeGarmo and his wife are the recipients of the Up With People Every Day Hero Award for 2015. The two also were honored in 2016 with their city’s Citizens of the Year Award.
Learn more about Dr. DeGarmo at DrJohnDeGarmoFostercare.weebly.com