Teen Sex Trafficking Hides in the Internet
According to police, almost all adult prostitutes started as children
ANCHORAGE - “People would be shocked at what is happening right here, in their own town,” said Sergeant Kathy Lacey. Because these days prostitution doesn’t hide on street corners, it hides in the internet.
Underground sex traffickers never have to put young girls on the street.
“A lot of it is behind closed doors,” said Lacey. “So we as a society think it’s not exploding. There’s so much money and cash involved in prostitution, it’s incredible.”
According to police, almost all adult prostitutes started as children. In Anchorage the average age is 15 years old. However, one Covenant House worker has a story about a 14-year-old who confided in her after watching a television show.
“A story came on about human trafficking, and she later disclosed that she had been a victim of human trafficking,” said Lauren Rice. “So you have this young 14-year-old, wearing bunny slippers, sitting in our shelter that night and two weeks earlier she was being raped in hotel rooms.”
Outreach workers say their only chance is to try and give vulnerable kids a choice. They don’t just need a place to stay, but a sense that there are people who care.
The offer of the kind of help that may convince some to take control of their lives before they end up giving everything away.
According to detectives, sex traffickers do everything they can to keep their young victims off the radar, so it is difficult to make arrests or get actual numbers as to how many young girls are involved.