North Texas Daily

Speaker: As many as 400 women could be for sale in DFW each night

Speaker: As many as 400 women could be for sale in DFW each night

Speaker: As many as 400 women could be for sale in DFW each night
September 09
13:14 2016

A group that aims to prevent sex trafficking across three states came to Denton Thursday and taught community members ways to spot, prevent and ultimately end sex trafficking.

Denton Bible Church hosted the event where the group, Traffick911, spoke about sex trafficking not only across the United States but specifically in Dallas-Fort Worth.

“We at Traffck911 are convinced that every person was created for a purpose and it wasn’t to lay on their back for $40,” said George Lynch, CEO for Traffick911. “The numbers in this space are hard to calculate because no one really knows, but as many as 100,000-300,000 American youth are at risk of being exploited every year. It’s possibly a $9.8 billion industry.”

A photo of a letter written to Traffick911 taken from the organization's website.

A photo of a letter written to Traffick911 taken from the organization’s website.

Lynch said the issue is bigger than people think, and the only way to combat sex trafficking is to have an open and raw conversation about what it really is. The facts, he said, must not be sugar coated.

A study by the Polaris Project, an organization that aims to end human trafficking worldwide, found that Texas ranks second in the nation for having the highest rates of trafficked people with a confirmed 307 cases. California was found to have the most, at about 682 cases. Another study by the Dallas Women’s Foundation found that on any given night, 400 women are for sale in the DFW area.

“The supply is driven by the demand,” Lynch said. “If there is someone willing to pay for it, there is going to be someone who is forced to supply the demand.”

Lynch added that in the last three years, there were 23 sex trafficking cases in Denton County.

But all hope is not lost. There are several ways to combat human trafficking. One is to make sure children grow up in a loving home and are not tempted to run away. He said pimps approach one out of three youth within 48 hours of running away from home. Parents need to be aware of what their children are doing online at all times, Lynch said.

A photo of a letter written to Traffick911 taken from the organization's website.

A photo of a picture drawn by a previous audience member of Traffick911 taken from the organization’s website.

Predators will often lure kids in by pretending they love or care about a victim. This kind of predator is called a “romeo pimp,” Lynch said. They offer lavish gifts, promises of relationships or even just a place to stay for the night. A predator, or pimp, could be anyone.

“Sometimes they’re husband-wife couples that recruit the youth,” he said. “I’ve seen a story where a mother sold her 8-year-old for [crack cocaine].”

The other factor that strongly drives the sex trafficking industry, Lynch said, is the pornography business.

“We have created a culture where [sexualization of young women] has become normalized,” Lynch said. “Forty-nine percent of victims reported that a pornography was made of them while they were being trafficked.”

By watching pornography, not only could one be watching someone trafficked do acts that they don’t want to do, but they are at the very least warping their views on sex. People who watch pornography, Lynch said, begin to want things that they see in the videos. These things cannot be found in a loving relationship, he said, causing some to look for what they want in online ads.

“My desire was not to bum you out with all this bad stuff,” he told the crowd. “I’m in favor of decriminalizing those who are sold, and criminalizing pimps.”

Around 100 people were in the room, nearly filling the chapel the event was held in. The Traffick911 lecture was just part one of a four-part series hosted by the church. The next event dates are Sept. 15, 22 and 29.

Beth Guess, who attends Denton Bible Church regularly, thought the presentation helped break her perception of pimps, and of those who are trafficked.

“I wanted to know the age when children go into this, and what to look for in the community,” Guess said. “He said it the way it needed to be said because it’s a disgusting thing that’s happening.”

Featured Image: A screen grab from Traffick911’s website.

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Tiffany Ditto

Tiffany Ditto

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