Sex trafficking? Here?
Each year, 100,000 children are used in prostitution in the United States—all of whom are legally defined as victims of human trafficking due to their age. There are 150,000-300,000 children at risk for commercial sexual exploitation nationwide. The average age of a victim is 13 years old. Some victims are forced to service 15-20 men every night. The average life span after entering the sex trade is 7 years, and only 2% of victims are ever rescued.
Okay, but in my city?
North Carolina is consistently ranked in the top fifteen states for human trafficking and Charlotte ranks as the number one city in North Carolina. Charlotte is a hub for entertainment, including facilities such as Time Warner Cable Arena, the convention center, and Bank of America Stadium. These large crowds foster an environment which can encourage trafficking and exploitation. Further, the easy access to major highways such as I-85 and I-77 provide transportation routes for traffickers.
So, we start with home. We begin by having conversations about the realities of trafficking in our own city. We will continue to provide funding for service providers, wear t-shirts, and host awareness events until each victim is safe.