By Jim McCune
Every year, human traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by victimizing millions of people around the world and here in the United States. Human trafficking is considered to be one of the fastest-growing criminal industries in the world. Pierce County is not immune from the horrors of this evil.
As the new chairman of Public Safety and Human Services Committee for Pierce County, I hope to engage the public with the issue of human trafficking. The committee has scheduled a one-hour presentation by Shared Hope International, followed by 30 minutes for questions and answers. It will be held at the County-City Building in Tacoma, 10th floor, March 10 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. and is open to the public.
Human trafficking in the USA is a $9.8 billion industry. At least 100,000 U.S. children are exploited in prostitution every year in America. The average age of a child first exploited through prostitution is 12 to 14. The growing demand for sex with young children is fueled by a glorification of pimping and a normalization of sexual exploitation.
The I-5 corridor is a main artery for transporting trafficked victims. Trafficking is common around conventions, resorts, sporting events, trade shows, malls, strip clubs, shelters, group homes, and on and on. It is more profitable for a trafficker to prostitute a child than to commit other crimes such as dealing drugs, because the child, also known as a “commodity,” is reusable. Perhaps the term “human capital” could be used to describe them as well.
The child is desensitized to sexual images and terms through graphic sex education or porn. Pornography rewires the male brain to become dependent (or addicted) on the natural chemicals that are released when exposed to pornographic images, which is linked to negative perceptions, attitudes and aggression toward women.
As in all criminal activities, there are never enough resources to eliminate the crime. Prevention and rescue starts with the community being familiarized with the signs of recruiting and trafficking, as well as working to maintain a society that protects the innocent mind of a child. Please attend the March 10 hearing if possible, or watch the local TVW broadcast.
We must work to end the demand for commercial sex. We must guide policies that reflect the principles from our Founding Fathers, such as “a free people cannot survive under a republican constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong.” Pray that our children will be protected from those who wish to do them harm, and that those who seek to destroy their innocence be arrested and prosecuted.
Jim McCune is a Pierce County Council. His district includes Graham, Eatonville and other areas of the county’s south end.