By Mark Memmott, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON An estimated 325,000 U.S. children age 17 or younger are prostitutes, performers in pornographic videos or have otherwise fallen victim to "commercial sexual exploitation," University of Pennsylvania researchers will report Monday.
Their 3-year, $400,000 study is based on research in 17 cities. The work includes interviews with 200 child victims, most already in the legal system, and more than 800 state, federal and local officials. Experts on juvenile law say it is the deepest investigation yet into the extent of the problem. There are 72 million children age 17 or younger in the USA.
"The depth of the problem almost took my breath away at times," says Richard Estes, a professor of social work at Penn and one of the report's co-authors.
Among the findings:
The largest group, about 122,000, is made up of children who have run away from home and turned to prostitution or pornography to get money for food or drugs.
The second-largest group, about 73,000, is made up of children who live at home and are used by family or friends in exchange for money, food, drugs or other benefits.
The third-largest group, about 52,000, is made up of "throwaway" children who have been abandoned by parents or guardians and turned to the sex trade to survive.
About 90% of the children are born in the USA. The research by Estes and Neil Weiner of Penn's Center for the Study of Youth Policy was funded by grants from the Department of Justice, the W.T. Grant Foundation, the Fund for Nonviolence and Penn's Research Foundation.
Previously, there were few estimates of the number of children involved in the nation's illegal commercial sex trade.
"This looks like it's the most comprehensive study yet," says Eva Klain of the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law.
CWA touched on the Sex Slave Trade (hardly a MSM voice!)http://www.cwfa.org/articledisplay.asp?id=6393&department=CWA&categoryid=pornography
FBI "Innocence Lost"<
>FBI estimates over 100,000 US children are currently being prostituted *by force* across the United States (either by relatives or as the result of a kidnapping); while the Sex-Slave and Human Trafficking divisions estimate that 15K to 20K more young women and children are brought *into* the US every year from outside the country (either abducted or come in under false promises) and forced into the sex-slave business.
It still doesn’t answer what I questioned.
“I doubt that American kidnapping and sex slavery of 11, 12 and 13 year old girls is what drives AIDs.”