Homework is never fun, but researching for a novel about sex-trafficking is heart-searing, brain-cleaving, stomach-punching yuck.
What drives the demand? That's the part I simply can't understand.
The numbers are traumatizing, but they're not just numbers. They are children.
The average age that a child is initiated into sex-trafficking in the US is between 12 and 14 years of age. In one recovery program, the average age of initial child sexual abuse was 8.
Human trafficking is the third largest crime industry in the world after illicit drugs and arms trafficking. 80% of human trafficking involves sexual exploitation.
It's a $32 billion industry.
But sex-trafficking at its core is the sordid story of stealing self-worth from girls and boys, trapping them in a life from which they often see no way out.
I am writing to expose the hope buried deep in that darkness, to help you and everyone who reads it to be blinded to the darkness and see only the light in the story.
I picture a strong, beautiful woman ready to take on the world, but she doesn't see it. She is enclosed in a dark, windowless van rumbling to the next filthy house. Faceless strangers will each take a piece of her until nothing is left but a wad of cash for her pimp and the muscle guarding the door.
She makes it through the night by abandoning herself. The drugs help her run away in her mind.
But that beautiful young woman is in there. She can't see it or even imagine it.
Can you see her?
This novel is going to take you into the darkest caverns of her world. Even in that deepest darkness, you will begin to see the light.
I hope you will join me on this journey.