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The Hidden Crisis: Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Girls
Date:10/21/2008

YWCA USA and Women's Policy, Inc. Co-Sponsor Capitol Hill Briefing

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- American girls as young as 10 are being coerced and lured into prostitution as a result of desperation, poverty or manipulation by adults. Many of these girls are especially vulnerable -- runaways, survivors of childhood physical and/or sexual abuse, have a mental illness or developmental disability, or abuse drugs/alcohol. They are crime victims, exploited by individuals who use violence, death threats and drugs to control them.

These findings were highlighted at a Capitol Hill briefing today, titled Girls for Sale: The Truth about Commercial Sexual Exploitation in the United States, co-sponsored by the YWCA USA and Women's Policy, Inc.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Human Trafficking, said, "We need more safe houses and transitional living facilities for these girls, as well as programs to educate men about the devastation caused by this sexual exploitation. At the same time, the criminal justice system must become more aggressive towards those who promote, conduct and profit from commercial sexual exploitation of girls."

The number of children thought to be at-risk for sexual exploitation is estimated to range from 200,000 - 300,000(1). "One thing is clear -- we need better data collection to help us understand the true nature and scope of this problem," said Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey L. Sedgwick, U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs. "We can then provide support to communities with high rates of commercial sexual exploitation of girls."

"Most people think of this as an international problem, either occurring elsewhere or 'imported' through the trafficking of women into this country. But, we want to bring to light that this is very much a domestic problem, involving young girls and teens from U.S. cities and suburbs across this nation," said Lorraine Cole
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SOURCE YWCA USA
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