What Is Child Trafficking

According to UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund), “A child has been trafficked if he or she has been moved within a country, or across borders, whether by force or not, with the purpose of exploiting the child.”

The FBI classifies human trafficking as the third largest and fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. Over 50% of trafficked victims are children.

Pedophiles in Paradise

Among pedophiles all over the world, Svay Pak is known as the place to indulge their sickest fantasies in a supportive environment full of pimps, traffickers, other pedophiles, and hundreds of children for sale.

They can buy children as young as four in the brothels of Svay Pak, a tiny, impoverished fishing village just north of Phnom Penh, where the average family ekes out an existence on less than $300 a year.

The children end up in brothels mostly because their parents are poverty-stricken and sell them to traffickers for as little as $20 or $30. Sometimes the children are tricked by a friend or relative who is a trafficker and who promises the child a good job that will help their families, and then the relative or friend sells the child instead to a brothel.

In Svay Pak, virginity is a valuable commodity that brings a family as much as $800. Parents can legally take their daughters to a hospital, get a certificate of virginity, and then sell a “pure” girl to a trafficker for double what some of these families make in an entire year.

The girls are usually between 11 and 13 years old. Many of these girls are repeatedly forced to have a painful operation to “restore” their virginity, in which skin is grafted to their reproductive organs to replace the hymen.

The very young children, pre-pubescent, are kept out of sight in hovels behind the store-front brothels masquerading as cafes, just in case a cop with a moral compass appears, which is rare. For a price, most police in Svay Pak look the other way.

When a client asks a brothel owner for something “younger and fresher” than the 12- to 17-year-olds forced to strut in front of him, the client is taken to a back alley where shockingly young children are paraded in front of the client. These small children have learned easy, internationally understood terms for the sex they are forced to provide. “Boom-boom” means intercourse. “Yum yum” means oral sex.

Most people think something like this could never happen here in the United States. They think it happens only 9,000 miles away in third-world countries like Cambodia. Think again.

The buyers and sellers in the filthy business of child trafficking are right next door. Literally. The only difference is that in the United States, the horrors of child trafficking are buried deep underground, but nonetheless thriving well.

Meet the Players in Child Trafficking

The children sold by traffickers into the commercial sex industry are forced into prostitution. They are controlled through violence and drugs.

They are imprisoned, beaten, drugged, starved, and raped to keep them obedient and fearful of trying to escape.

There is no exchange of services or consent as there is with adults who choose to prostitute themselves for money. That means the clients, or “players,” as they refer to themselves, rape the children. Child trafficking is rape for sale. The buyers or “players” are pedophiles.

Pedophiles Who Buy Children

Who are these players? Many are professionals—doctors, teachers, computer programmers, preachers, business owners. They are your business associates, neighbors, friends, and family members. They are from every walk of life. They have wives. They have children the same ages as the children they molest and rape.

Their treachery is that they have no distinguishing characteristics that make them stand out as pedophiles. They often look, act, and live just like everyone else.

They are the monsters who keep child trafficking a thriving business with an estimated two million or more children trafficked worldwide, just for sex, every year.

They don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. One American pedophile who had travelled from Chicago to Cambodia as a “sex tourist” and had just paid to rape a 14-year-old and had then shared her with his friend, justified his actions to an undercover reporter this way:

“These Asian girls reach sexual maturity way faster than girls at home. My daughter’s 15 and she’s a baby by comparison. These girls are not children,” he insisted. “By the time they get to Svay Pak, they’ve probably had sex more than 100 times. Plus, I didn’t turn her into a prostitute. I don’t make her do that. I’m just taking advantage of a situation I didn’t create. It’s not my fault.”

When asked specifically what he did with the 14-year-old girl, what he described can’t be printed here. Then he shrugged and said very nonchalantly, “She was a lousy lay. But I [expletive] her 12-year-old sister, too, and got my money’s worth and more.”

This man returned a week later to his pediatrics practice, behind the respectable mask of which he continued trafficking and stalking children on the Internet. He is somebody’s neighbor. Somebody’s doctor. Somebody’s husband and father.

The Role of Technology in Child Trafficking

Children are recruited where they hang out most – at malls and even at school. Most pedophiles also troll the Internet, the primary avenue for child trafficking and where an estimated 70% of bartering for sex with children begins.

The Internet searches done by pedophiles often point to places like Svay Pak, where sex with children happens out in the open and carries no moral stigma. But their searches increasingly point much closer to home.

Web sites like Backpage and Craig’s List are the primary facilitators of child trafficking because they offer traffickers a free, international conduit, which reaches millions of potential buyers, through which to sell children.

Both Backpage and Craig’s List provide sections that advertise services that involve sex for sale. Although Craig’s List recently shut down its “Adult Services” section, Backpage continues its “Adult” section on which pimps heavily rely in order to sell the services of young girls who have been coerced and forced into prostitution.

One undercover sex-crimes cop referred to these Web sites as “renting an organ for a few minutes.”

Children in the United States who are trafficked are usually kidnapped or, more often, lured by pedophiles and traffickers trolling chat rooms and social media sites online. Many children are lured by the promise of jobs, money, education, and opportunities. Many are lured by offers of love, stability, and escape from parental control or an unhappy home life.

Once their trust is gained, the children are then forced into prostitution and pornography, which is heavily advertised for sale on Web sites like Backpage and Craig’s List. One rescued 13-year-old victim referred to the beginning of her three-year ordeal as “the first time he sold me on Craig’s List.”

Still other children are lured by friends, family members, trusted adults, and acquaintances. Some may be acting on behalf of the trafficker to gain the child’s trust. The trafficker may be part of a gang and may use a cell phone to send inappropriate texts to children promising the same things: jobs, money, glamor, opportunities, attention, love.

Children who are most at risk are run-aways, homeless children, and children living in abusive situations. According to the Web site Ark of Hope for Children, an estimated 300,000 Americans under 18 are lured into the commercial sex trade every year, and the average age of trafficked victims is 11 to 14.

Warning Signs That a Child May Be Targeted or Trafficked:

  • Chronic runaway or homeless.
  • Lying about age or false ID.
  • Excess amount of cash in the child’s possession.
  • Hotel keys and cards in the child’s possession.
  • New items like clothing, makeup, and electronics in the child’s possession.
  • Prepaid cell phone in the child’s possession.
  • Sexually explicit profiles on social networking sites.
  • Injuries and signs of physical abuse.
  • Inability or fear to interact socially.
  • Repeated absence from school.
  • Texts, email, chats with people you don’t know.
  • Loyalty or positive feelings toward the trafficker.
  • Much older friends or romantic interests.
  • Friends who isolate the child from other friends and family

(Source: Thorn – Digital Defenders of Children)

If you suspect a child under age 18 has been targeted by a potential trafficker, please report it immediately. Below are good resources to raise awareness of child trafficking.

We are Advanced Bio Treatment. We are here for you 24 hours every day of the year. Should you need our services, please call us at 800-295-1684.


Child Trafficking Information and Resources

Department of Homeland Security – Blue Campaign: Victims Resources

National Human Trafficking Resource Center

Human Trafficking Organization – Combat Trafficking

Polaris Project – Human Trafficking

Federal Bureau of Investigation – Human Trafficking

US Immigration and Customs – Human Trafficking

Rescue Freedom International – What is Trafficking


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Ted Pelot Owner & President of Crime Scene Cleanup Company - Advanced Bio-Treatment