Unseen, Unheard – The reality of CSEC today.

CSEC is the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.
Yes, it happens in your neighborhood, to people you have seen. Those who are currently being exploited look like they are someone’s sister, friend, cousin, or daughter – because they are.

People often don’t think it doesn’t happen here, where I live, because they don’t see children being exploited for sex and to be honest it is easier to think that it happens ‘over there’. ┬áThe ‘over there’ for you may be in some developing world country where these ‘horrible things are happening to children’ or it maybe in some other state or city but not in your neighborhood or to child that goes to your child’s school. However, it does happen to kids that look just like the kids in your neighborhood, in your church, in your school, and your city.

To be honest, I think that it is easier for people to accept that a 19, 21 or even 17 year old girl has somehow gotten involved, usually not by her own choice and has been exploited or sex trafficked ( by the way this should never happen either). I would add that if she is under 18 she is always a victim of trafficking and never at fault. You don’t see all those previous years that she has lived in the foster system, living with sexual and physical abuse, or many other complex issues that you may have not considered.

However, what I have realized in the various times I have spoken to groups is, people don’t consider that girls much younger than are being exploited or sex trafficked in our cities. People will often say, “Well, I don’t see little girls on the street.” You’re right you don’t, obviously our law enforcement would intervene right away if that were the case. The girls who are younger are hidden, unseen, unnoticed, unheard and invisible to everyone. They are taken to pre-arranged locations, places set up on the internet or by text message and many more situations.

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This is part of display – “Walk in her shoes” where attendees can see the shoes of survivors of exploitation and hear their stories by scanning the QR code. Take note of the tiny child’s shoe in the picture. This shoe represents my own experience as a CSEC survivor, I was a very young child. This is reality for so many children in our cities and state. It is a bit overwhelming next to the high heel stilettos, isn’t it? That is what is happening – the same sexual exploitation and sex trafficking is being demanded of a small child as from a young women that can fit in high heels. None of it is acceptable, no one should ever be sold for any reason – we are created in the image of God but we are not treated this way. None of the survivors had a choice in her situation, None of them is at fault, all victims are trapped and being exploited.

Take note of the tiny child shoe in the picture.  This small shoe in the photo represents my own life as a CSEC survivor and it is my story on the card. Yes, I was that small when I was first exploited, and it also represents so many other girls often unseen, invisible and who lose everything. No one is looking for her and we are literally losing a generation of young girls to this horrible evil.

We, as a community, as a culture must rise up and say it is not acceptable for children to be sold as products for sex (or anything else). It is not acceptable for buyers to engage in purchasing sex with children (i.e. rape for sale) and not be penalized. It is not acceptable for our children to lose their innocence, dreams, education, futures to someone (a trafficker) who will sell that innocence to the highest buyer.

The only way – this modern day slavery will ever change, will ever stop is if good people like you and me and rise up and do something about it. –

 

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