There was a time when Katie Rhodes was sold for sex out of nightclubs, strip clubs, magazines and online websites. She was part of an estimated $45 million industry of what she called “selling human beings online.”
“It’s a lot of money, said Rhodes, the founder of the Healing Action Network. “It’s a lot of economic incentive to keep this industry going.”
Rhodes said it’s crucial that third-party facilitators of prostitution are held accountable. That’s why she’s supportive of Rep. Ann Wagner’s legislation taking aim at publications advertising human trafficking.
Sex trafficking is not just an international problem, or even a national one. It is also a problem here in St. Louis. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, St. Louis is a hot spot of sex trafficking activity, one of the top 20 in the country.
Jan. 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
You may assume that human trafficking has nothing to do with you, and that there’s nothing you can do about it. If so, you would be wrong.
The average age of a child recruited into sex trafficking is just 12. When we tell that to people who know little about human trafficking, particularly child sex trafficking, we see them literally take a step back.