Monday, July 27, 2009

Ending the Sexual Abuse of Girls


By Kaffie McCullough

Despite aggressive FBI action to target prostitution and pimp rings, an estimated 300 girls are still forced into commercial sex transactions each month in our state, more than twice the number who are killed in auto accidents in a year.

The Juvenile Justice Fund has mounted a statewide campaign called “A Future. Not A Past.,” to address this sexual exploitation, seeking to show that adolescents who are drawn into prostitution are victims of adult criminal behavior, rather than criminals themselves. The media has helped raise awareness of the staggering dimension of the problem, most recently in an article profiling the forceful response of faith-based communities.

This fight is to rescue girls who have been exploited and help restore their lives. Although we still do not have enough capacity to treat all of the victims, the Governor’s Office of Children and Families has committed to develop a statewide system of care so that any girl who may have been exploited can be assessed and, if necessary, treated for the trauma that she has endured through commercial sexual exploitation.