In 2011, I chose for my Psychology assignment a review of the NPR Talk Radio article, “Trafficked Teen Girls Describe Life In ‘The Game’,” because the subject matter had a lot to do with my first book, Branded, by D. Perdue Henderson. I had been doing research on this subject and was horrified to find that people simply walk by and do nothing. They don’t even bother to ask them a question. It’s as if the lives of these kids don’t matter. My review, highlights how society simply accepts things they don’t understand, instead of getting involved.
If you would like to read the article for yourself, go to: NPR Talk Radio – Trafficked Teen Girls.
You will notice how similar the protagonist in Branded is to these girls.
Two girls named Darleen and Brittney were persuaded to be in the sex trafficking business from a young age – puberty. Each day would begin at 5am and they needed to be on the street hustling business by 5:30. They were not permitted to return until 2am. In between, they only got one meal a day, which consisted mostly of fast food.
Britney was 15 years old when she ditched school and was kidnapped. The kidnappers removed her phone and gave her a crash course on the sex business by gang raping her. Later that same person became her Gorilla pimp. He kept her in the business by fear, but also used violence and brainwashing strategies. She said she was scared and did not expect to live past the age of 18.
Darleen was only 14 years old when she started the business. She was coerced into it by her boyfriend, also known as a Romeo pimp. She said he made it sound glamorous and the hip hop music of the time did the same, so she had no problem with being in the industry back then. However, things have changed.
Brittney and Darleen are now out of the business and are back in school. One has even stated college. That is very good new, but what about the other girls still out there? A neighbor in the article said, “Everybody sees them but nobody does anything.” This is not entirely true. The FBI does multiple stings a year and returns hundreds of kidnapped children that were once prostitutes. I believe what the neighbor is trying to say is, people drive by every day and do nothing. They will even witness a girl getting beaten by her pimp and not even report it. I guess they think those kids want to be there, or they would have gone home. However, that is not always the case. Most of the time, the girls are forced to be there and monitored to make sure they stay.
I was so happy to hear that more and more communities have programs that can safely transition girls off the street. The programs in California seem to be working, but it sounds like the girls need to get arrested before they can begin any type of program. There should be a place to go prior to their arrest.
I believe the public needs to stop dehumanizing these children and get involved. Like Darleen said, the girls sold on the street corner is somebody’s daughter or niece. The police are doing what they can, within the restrictive guidelines of their communities, but the public needs to get involved too. To start with, help change some of the state guidelines, so it is more favorable for the victims, not the pimps.
There is a reason why the FBI reports between 100,000 and 300,000 child prostitutes on the streets each year; because the people are too afraid to get involved. I say, get involved! Make a difference and be a part of your local community.
So, what are YOU going to do about it?