Guest Blogger - "A Topic Serious in Nature"

Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The following piece was written by my Smart Daughter. She originally posted it on Facebook, but has given me permission to repost it here, since she feels the issue does not get enough coverage in the mainstream media.

A Topic Serious in Nature

Today I'd like to talk about a common misconception that I fear is seriously damaging America; the ideas we have about underage prostitution, and the girls who are forced to do it.

We, as Middle class Americans (as that describes pretty much all of my f-list) seem to have this idea that these girls run away from home with the intention of becoming a whore. And some of them do. However, the majority run away from bad situations, with no idea of how a decent relationship should run and are picked up by and preyed upon by their pimps. The pimp will present himself as a caring, loving, boyfriend/father figure. Once his "love" has been established he will slowly start waging a psychological warfare upon the girl, becoming abusive and threatening until the child could no more disobey him then she could break the law of gravity.

Slowly he will convince her that she needs to help "earn her keep", and at these ages it's not like the girl in question can run out and get a job. In fact, she can't run out and do anything. She is completely dependent upon her pimp. She will probably live in a room with the other prostitutes "belonging" to her pimp, and the child will never get a cent of the money she risks life and limb to make.

Yes, "at these ages", yes I said "child." New figures have the average age of girls entering "the life" at 13.

These girls are abused, raped (I know what you think, but a prostitute can be raped) and treated as criminals by the one group that is in a position to help them: the police. Unless a girl can be prove to have been taken across state lines she is not regarded as a "trafficked" person, and is therefore, regardless of her age, not entitled to the same rights, benefits and other help given to those who are smuggled in.

Because of this the police have very few options. They can send the girl to jail, where it is unlikely she will get the counseling she will need (these girls generally have such incredibly low self esteem that they have convinced themselves/have been convinced by their pimps that they are suited for no other life) but will at least have the opportunity to get the education that they missed. Or they can go back into the custody of the family they ran away from in the first place/to a foster home (and we've all heard the horror stories about what those are like for the typical teenager). This, of course, leaves the poor girl available to the pimp, who is generally more then capable of convincing.threatening her right back in.

We send kids who have drug problems to rehab on the government's dime, why are their so few programs for helping these girls? And why are none of those government sponsored? They are clearly the victims in this situation, and yet there are only three or four programs in the entire country dedicated to helping these pour kids!

Most often these girls live in fear for their very lives from their pimps, who threaten, beat, rape, and psychologically torture these girls. They tell the girls that if they don't earn a certain amount of money, if they don't give all of the money they earn to the pimp, if they give the pimp any lip, or if they ever ever dare try to run away they will die, because he will kill them.

The future for the girls, hundreds of thousands across the country, is bleak. They have no options, they have no future. We are failing these children.

5 comments:

Steve Buchheit said...

Because even though it's been over as hundred years since Freud declared he had discovered the Hellespont of psychosis, the sexual abuse and conflict we inflict upon our children, which he was then thrown out of polite society and the psychological associations until he recanted and came up with Interpretation of Dream, Oedipal and Electra complexes to explain the same thing, we still can't deal cognitively as a society with the problem of abuse.

Random Michelle K said...

I have no answers, but like many other topics, this is a subject that needs to be spoken of and discussed openly, instead of being ignored.

I think part of the problem is that we (Americans) are wound entirely too tight about sex. If breasts are deemed dirty, than what hope do we have for convincing society that sex is not something naughty, and that those who have sex for more than making babies are not bad people?

Historically, women were little more than the vehicle for men's pleasure. So women getting something from sex, be it pleasure or money, were women who were not controlled by men.

Coincidentally, one of my favorite authors has a series of stories, novellas, and a book about a character who went through the cycle of sexual abuse, drug abuse, and prostitution. Charles de Lint's character Jilly Coppercorn's character is one of his strongest characters, and has a very difficult past--specifically what you are discussing here. The stories about her can be difficult to read, but like all else he writes, well worth the time.

To circle back around to the point, I think that if more individuals were willing to talk about the problem openly, then perhaps it will lead to a shift in the issue is viewed will lead to a shift in how it is dealt with.

Jeri said...

My compliments to the smart girl - she obviously inherited her mother's writing talent. :)

It's an interesting perspective, thank you for sharing - and I agree, it deserves more attention, more support, and a paradigm shift about enforcement and punishment.

University said...
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Janiece said...

*TONG!*