FBI Rescues 79 American Child Sex Slaves

fbi-badge-gun-source-wikipedia.jpg

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 23:20 PM EDT, 25 June 2012

FBI Badge & Gun (Cropped), Source (Wikipedia)The FBI announced the results of a three-day operation during which 79 minors were rescued and 104 pimps were arrested. Today’s announcement demonstrated that the problem of large-scale trafficking of children into sexual slavery is not limited to foreign countries.

This latest coordinated effort marked the sixth deployment of “Operation Cross Country," implemented to free children who became ensnared in the nightmare of prostitution through online media venues such as social media websites, chat rooms and text messaging.

Despite aggressive television, billboard, and internet campaigns warning parents and caregivers of the insidious tactics employed by increasingly sophisticated predators, young people continue to post personal information on the web at an alarming rate.

According to the website Internet Safety 101.org:

  • 29% of Internet sex crime relationships were initiated on a social networking site. (Journal of Adolescent Health 27, 2010)
  • In 26% of online sex crimes against minors, offenders disseminated information and/or pictures of the victim through the victim's personal social networking site. (Journal of Adolescent Health 47, 2010)
  • 33% of all Internet-initiated sex crimes involved social networking sites. (Journal of Adolescent Health 47, 2010)
  • 72% of teens have a social networking profile and nearly half (47%) have a public profile viewable by anyone.
  • Frequently children in 4th-6th grade levels engage in social networking activities. In the process they post personal, potentially exploitable, information about themselves online. Specifically, and within the last school year: 16% posted personal interests online, 15% posted information about their physical activities and 20% gave out their real name. In addition, 5% posted information about their school, 6% posted their home address, 6% posted their phone number and 9% posted pictures of themselves.
  • Teens often include the following information on their social networking profile.
  • Real age (50%)
  • Photos of themselves (62%)
  • City they live in (41%)
  • School name/location (45%)
  • Videos of friends (16%)
  • Videos of themselves (14%)
  • Their cell phone number (14%)
  • Places where they typically go (9%) (Source: Internet Safety 101.org)

The majority of the children rescued were girls between the ages of 11 and 13, but there were some boys. Most of the children were enticed by the promise of greater liberation from parental authority, while others were tempted by things as inconsequential as cell phones or other minor gifts.

As with most human trafficking cases, once captured the victims remain enslaved through psychological abuse and torture. Many are told that either they or their loved one will be killed if they try to escape or contact the authorities. The children freed during this operation are at the beginning of their journey to freedom.

Though these children have been physically freed, they have a long road ahead of them to achieve physical and psychological healing. Previous reports state that victims liberated during previous phases of "Operation Cross Country" have had severe difficulties adjusting and in some cases their behaviors were so anti-social that battered and abused and runaway shelters refuse to admit them.

These raids are a promising start and hopefully the American public will continue to increase its national and international awareness, advocacy and support of the hundreds of thousands of children who fall victim to perfidious sex traffickers every day.

Follow Nahmias Cipher Report on Twitter
Twitter: @nahmias_report Editor: @ayannanahmias

Kiddie Porn | Pimp Moms

“I’m going to smile and make you think I’m happy, I’m going to laugh, so you don’t see me cry, and even if it kills me - I’m going to smile." ~ Anonymous Child pageants are as revolting and damaging to female children as the other heinous practices which have been highlighted in this blog. From Leblouh to Female Circumcision, the pain inflicted upon daughters by mothers who willingly participate in their physical and psychological abuse will haunt them for the remainder of their lives. These mothers are not bad people, they just want the best for their daughters when they try to physically mold and conform them to dangerous and idealized standards of beauty.

Ultimately, the problem with child beauty pageants is the sexualization of girls as young as 2 and 3 years old. There is no justification for this aspect of the industry. A child's confidence lies not in how closely she can approximate a grown woman through the artifice of make-up, but in how we as parents help her to develop her innate gifts and abilities so that her external beauty compliments her personality and talent instead of dominating her existence.

Read More

Preteen Divorce in Yemen | Nujood Ali

yemen-women-protest-against-child-brides.jpg

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 17:33 PM EDT, 4 March 2010

UNITED STATES - Nujood Ali is a ten-year old Yemeni girl who secured a divorce from her husband, a man 20 years her senior who violently raped her soon after their marriage. She recounts in her memoir her father promising her to this man and her mother's inability to protect her from the abuse she would soon suffer. Typical of many traditional, patriarchal societies, her father was the ultimate arbiter of all decisions pertaining to the females of his household. Even though Nujood's mother disagreed with the arrangement she was powerless to intervene.

Nujood's courageous story, "I Am Nujood, Age 10 Divorced," was just published in the United States this week. Her ordeal as chronicled in the book began when she was in the 2nd grade, before she had even had her first menstrual cycle. Though her father remained unswayed by her protestations, he did request her future husband to abstain from sexual contact with Nujood until after her first menstruation. On the day of her wedding, this small, scared girl remained curled up in a corner crying, and that night her husband raped her for the first time.

As a woman whose parents received the offer of several cows to become the nubile bride of an octogenarian, and who was violently raped as a teenager; Nujood's story evokes a visceral response in me.  Whereas I was able to avoid her matrimonial fate through the strong protestations of my mother, it was achieved at the cost of subsequent physical abuse from my father who felt defied and humiliated at his inability to "control his women."

Nujood's nuptial night rape was the beginning of a horrible cycle of abuse from both her husband and mother-in-law who encouraged her son to beat Nujood. Though only in elementary school her husband forced to drop out since education for women is not valued nor encouraged. Her life of enforced servitude and childbearing was antithetical to the independence education would have afforded her. Statistically, an educated woman will desire to improve her situation and that of her offspring, which often clashes with the rigid structure of a society where a woman's opinions and thoughts carry no weight.

This is what makes Nujood's story so remarkable, she was born and raised within this framework and was yet a child without the benefit of outside references, who had the presence of mind to escape from her husband's house and go to a local court where she bravely asked to speak to a judge. When she finally found one who would listen to her, she proclaimed with boldness,  "I want a divorce!"

Thus began a journey that would inspire other girls trapped in similarly abusive arranged marriages to petition the courts for annulments and divorces. It does not appear that Nujood knew the full import of her decision that day, nor the potential danger she faced from her family, particularly her father and brothers who could have easily murdered her, in all probability without retribution, through the practice of 'Honor Killing.'  Thankfully, this was not the case and now Nujood can live her life in a manner prescribed and determined by her in large part due to the success of her book and the income that it generates.

Nujood Ali's memoir was No. 1 for five weeks in France and is currently being published in 18 other languages including Arabic.  I highly recommend this book and encourage you to explore this issue further through the links below.

Follow Nahmias Cipher Report on Twitter
Twitter: @nahmias_report Editor: @ayannanahmias

World’s Untold Stories: Innocence for Sale

In the "World's Untold Stories: Innocence for Sale," Aaron Cohen and CNN go undercover in Cambodia. The program vividly depicts the abject cruelty, heartless abuse and dehumanizing condition of children sold into sexual slavery, often by their parents. Once imprisoned, pedophiles who travel to the country from all parts of the world can pay roughly the same cost as a round of drinks for sex with a child. The documentary will enlighten and inspire new conversation about the challenges currently preventing aid workers and authorities from winning the battle in the struggle to free children from this most despicable form of modern-day slavery.

Read More