DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - In a recent State Department report, the United States has been ranked at the top of the list in sex trafficking, with many of the victims coming out of the foster care system.
In a growing effort to raise awareness and crack down on human sex trafficking, the "Trafficking in Persons" report, which is an annual report on the scourge of human trafficking in the U.S. in the previous year, was delivered by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
In a new emphasis on partnership between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other agencies and non-profit organizations, the DOJ has provided over $31 million to 45 victim service providers, doubling the monetary allotment of 2017.
The head of one of those organizations, Geoff Rogers, co-founder of the United States Institute Against Human Trafficking (USIAHT), claims "the United States is the number one consumer of sex worldwide. We are driving the demand as a society."
At the heart of the human trafficking trade in America is simple economics: supply and demand; and the demand in the United States is increasing, according to Rogers.
"We're also driving the demand with our own people, with our own kids," he said. "So there are tremendous numbers of kids, a multitude of kids that are being sold as sex slaves today in America. These are American kids, American-born, 50 percent to 60 percent of them coming out of the foster care industry."
The State Department confirms that minors who are most vulnerable to sex trafficking are children in foster care, homeless youth, illegal immigrant children, and those with substance abuse problems.
According to a Department of Health and Human Services report, over 300,000 American youth are considered at risk for sexual exploitation, and almost 200,000 incidents occur each year. There were 526 federal prosecutions in 2018, most of which resulted in jail sentences of more than five years.
President Donald Trump has promised the "full force and weight" of the U.S. government to combat an "epidemic" of human trafficking.
Trump, who is making this a signature issue of his first term, met with secretaries and undersecretaries from 19 departments and agencies in February to learn what they are doing to stop sex trafficking, human smuggling and labor trafficking.
Some of their initiatives have included funding a program to end modern slavery, enforcing borders, developing a tool kit for students to increase awareness of the problem and "looking deeper into supply chains" to stop slave labor.
Joe Grogan, White House domestic policy director, summarized the problem from one angle as a societal issue: "We have almost 5,000 shelters for animals who have been abused in the United States and fewer than a thousand beds for children who were trafficked sexually, many of those by their own families."
According to the International Tribunal for Natural Justice (ITNJ), around 8 million children a year are sexually trafficked internationally through pedophilia networks, where they suffer unimaginable horrors such as Satanic ritual abuse.
This includes documented cases of children missing, but does not include children who are born and bred into pedophilia networks with no birth certificates or undocumented immigrant children who come across the borders.
Some victims of sex slavery have had the courage to speak out. "Kate" was abducted by a man named Luis who was enrolled in a program at her high school for illegal immigrants.
Kate was 14 years old in the ninth grade, Luis was 21. He first began Facebook messaging her with compliments, and then they began a relationship. Kate said she "fell in love." Luis took her to parties where there were "old men" who also showered her with compliments. She would be intoxicated.
They eventually fed her heroin and PCP, and sold her for sex to support Luis' gang, MS13. Soon Kate was "branded with a money symbol" on her body. She received little food and water and became the victim of non-stop rape while her "pimp" sat and watched. Luis and his gang were about to take Kate out of state when police arrived and freed her.
Reinforcing his dedication to eradicating this problem, in 2017 President Trump warned pimps and other sex trade criminals: "My administration is committed to leveraging every resource we have to confront this threat, to support the victims and survivors and to hold traffickers accountable for their heinous crimes."