Little Barbies: The Sex Trafficking of Americans

by Christopher Paul on May 24, 2011

Vanity Fair has an in-depth but disturbling look at sex trafficking in America and across the globe. I was floored when I read this:

“There are more young American girls entering the commercial sex industry—an estimated 300,000 at this moment—and their ages have been dropping drastically. “The average starting age for prostitution is now 13,” says Rachel Lloyd, executive director of Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (gems), a Harlem-based organization that rescues young women from “the life.” Says Judge Cofield, who formerly presided over Hartford’s Prostitution Protocol, a court-ordered rehabilitation program, “I call them the Little Barbies.””

The torture, abuse, and humiliation these girls endure at the hands of their pimps is saddening. I almost couldn’t read the whole thing.

Sex Trafficking of Americans: The Girls Next Door – Vanity Fair via Longreads

Tyrone M Jackson May 28, 2011 at 1:53 PM

“There are more young American girls entering the commercial sex industry—an estimated 300,000 at this moment…” This estimate is bogus. According to the 2010 US census, there are 20.6 million women in the US between the ages of 10 & 19 inclusive. Assuming that’s the “sex trade” target group, for that “estimated 300,000” number to be correct, the odds of a girl being sold into the sex trade before reaching the age of 20 would be 1 in 69, or 1.45%. Do you really believe that 1.45% of American girls worked as prostitutes at some point in their lives? I don’t. And if you think my age range of 10-19 is too broad, then the odds would be even higher.

SoItsComeToThis May 28, 2011 at 4:50 PM

I see your point on the statistics; they could be inaccurate or manipulated to prove their point (which often happens with stats). I’m going by what the article said so I assume they did some research. And while I appreciate the 2010 census data, it’s not going to represent the girls that are enslaved. They aren’t “living” with a parent, they aren’t filling taxes, and no pimp is going to list them as a dependent on their own census form/survey.

So your calculation of 1.45% of girls being sex slaves is going to be off because the real population wouldn’t be included in that figure. It’s likely that the percentage of girls forced into slavery is lower compared to every woman who resides in the US but it wouldn’t affect the raw count.

Either way, any girl forced into prostitution is bad and to dance around the statistics of it all is just an attempt to avoid the guilt and conscious acceptance that this type of ill exists in our backyard.

But thanks for the comment! It’s always good to hear other perspectives.

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