The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Brock's Beef: Child trafficking is a problem everywhere

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  • The mass kidnappings in Nigeria have been on my mind a lot lately.
    Sure, there are plenty of "American issues" to worry about, but human
    trafficking is also an American problem, because it happens here more
    than we would like to admit.
    In case you didn't know, more than 300 teenage schoolgirls were
    abducted from a secondary school in Nigeria last month. Some have
    escaped, but the search continues. Recently, at least eight more were
    According to a recent report from USA Today, an Islamic terrorist
    group called Boko Haram — which means "western education is a sin" —
    has claimed responsibility for taking the girls.
    In a video, the group's leader said, "By Allah, I will sell them in
    the marketplace..."
    I have two daughters, and I am blessed that they have access to a
    Western education. We do a lot of complaining about the structure of
    the public education system – no prayer in schools, the teaching of
    evolution, school uniforms, "No Child Left Behind" – but most of the
    time, we can expect them to come every day.
    These young girls haven't made it home yet. The United States among
    others have joined Nigeria in the search to find these young girls,
    and I pray that they find them all alive and well.
    This brings me to my aforementioned statement – human trafficking is
    an American problem.
    According to UNICEF, child trafficking is defined as "the recruitment,
    transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of children for the
    purpose of exploitation."
    An estimated 2 million children are trafficked worldwide each year.
    According to humantrafficking.org, the United States is primarily a
    "transit and destination country for trafficking in persons," with an
    estimated 14,500 to 17,500 – mostly women and children – brought into
    the U.S. every year.
    According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an
    estimated 800,000 children are reported missing in the United States
    each year.
    The Center also reports that in 2006, U.S. attorneys handled about 83
    percent more child pornography cases than in 1994, while "ICAC Task
    Forces noted about a 1,000 percent increase in complaints of child sex
    trafficking from 2004 to 2008."
    Since October of last year, NCMEC’s Child Victim Identification
    Program has handled more than 104 million child pornography images
    since its creation in 2002, the Center reports.
    American children who go missing are used in the sex trade every day.
    Page 2 of 2 - Cases have been reported in all 50 states, involving girls, boys and
    transgendered children. The average age, UNICEF reports, is 13, most
    of them runaways with histories of sexual abuse.
    So yes, this is an American problem, just like it's a problem all over
    the globe – whether it's legal or not.
    The worst feeling in the world is when falling asleep with the
    television on, and after a news report about the Nigerian kidnapping
    slips into your REM sleep, you jump out of bed looking around the room
    for your daughters. Nightmares are scary because everything feels real.
    There are hundreds of parents across the Atlantic who can't call their
    daughters like I called mine the other day to say "I love you and miss
    They have to wait it out, hoping with every fiber of their being that
    they will hear those sweet voices again.
    The thought alone is paralyzing.
    One of the worst fears a parent can fathom is child abduction. The
    closest we will ever get to God on this Earth is the innocence of
    child, and there are men and women – right here in our own nation –
    waiting to steal that innocence from them.
    If you suspect child sexual exploitation of any kind, visit www.cybertipline.com
    or call 1-800-843-5678.
    And whether you believe in a Higher Power or not, ask God, the Great
    Spirit, or even the Universe to protect those girls and their
    families. No one deserves this, and we can all spare 10 seconds to
    send out positive energy.
    And pray for those who wish to do harm to the children of the world,
    that they may find the peace required to stop this wicked behavior.
    Lawyers, guns and money are necessary evils in this evil world, but
    the power that comes from divine intercession and solidarity should
    never be underestimated.
    Ponder that!
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