"Tonya," not her real name, says she was lured into selling herself for sex as a child. "When I turned 12 years old, I started street prostitution," the woman says. "I had a pimp."
"Tonya" is one victim cited in a startling new study, which finds that children are being bought and sold for sex in the U.S. on a regular basis. The non-profit group "Shared Hope International" studied minors involved in sex trafficking in ten locations nationwide, with Clearwater being one of them.
ABC Action News investigative reporter Matthew Schwartz first reported last year on human trafficking in Clearwater, which is a form of modern-day slavery.
"Shared Hope International released undercover video taken in an undisclosed location (outside the bay area), in which one of its investigators poses as a buyer talking to a pimp, to show how easy it is to buy sex with a minor.
The pimp says to the investigator, "If you pay the price you can get what you want, and I can get it for ya." "Really?," the investigator replies. The pimp then says, "Now, if you want something really young, that's $200."
The results of the group's nationwide study have been announced, and among the key findings:
One young victim explained how a pimp lured her into prostitution.
"The things that he said were things I've never felt before. I actually felt like I was loved by somebody for the first time." The study was funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Adapted from: "Investigators: Children lured into sex trafficking." abcactionnews.com.
26 March 2008.
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