January 11, 2023

Every Two Minutes…

It is said that every two minutes in the United States, a person is being groomed to be sex trafficked. The month of January, and specifically January 11, is set aside to build awareness and promote ways to help.

Our pop culture has often depicted sex trafficking involving criminal events such as kidnapping, physical violence, and law enforcement stings. And in some cases, that is true.

But when I was working as a case manager for sex trafficking victims, I met far more women and teens whose stories were harrowing in their subtlety—stories in my community, and likely yours, too.

I met a 14-year-old in her home who had been rescued from being trafficked as an 11-year-old. Her traffickers didn’t even take her out of school—she went to “work” after school and on weekends and stayed out all night with them. She thought “partying” with them was cool and the “work” she had to do was simply payment back for the clothes, food, and yes, alcohol.

Her traffickers did allow her to come home and return to school—they knew she would be back. Other girls around her age were there and hiding what was happening from their parents was just the “normal teenage thing to do.” The traffickers had built her up to be the ultimate in cool girls and told her she was “grown” now. She felt special when she was with them—for a few moments.

It wasn’t until she became pregnant that children services was notified and she could be sent home to have her child with family’s support and re-learn that what was happening to her was a crime. She received wraparound services and was slowly readjusting to a more normal teenage life. (Her son was 3 when I met them, thriving under her care with support from her mom, the maternal grandmother.)

Other victims are taken to abortion clinics most often by another woman (and probable victim-turned-recrutier) to get abortions so that they can continue to “work”—be exploited.

They pose as the victims’ mothers, aunts, friends etc., and give false stories to abortion clinics who have promised to never ask questions.

By now you may be wondering how to learn more and help. 

If you are attending the March for Life in Washington D.C. on January 19, stay an extra day and attend my presentation and hear more of my stories from my own experience as a rape survivor and case manager for sex trafficking victims at the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life! Click on the link to register—tickets are still available!

If you or someone you know is a pregnancy center volunteer, consider signing up for the in-person or online option of the Heartbeat International Conference April 24-26, where I will present my speech to help equip pregnancy resource center volunteers and sidewalk advocates to know the red flags in identifying possible trafficking victims.

Email info@feministsforlife.org to learn more about bringing this much-needed presentation or other FFL speakers to your community or organization!

How to Get Help If You Are Being Trafficked

Read our resources, including how to help women experiencing violence, on our helpsite WomenDeserveBetter.com and promote them to your churches, pregnancy centers, and schools.

Encourage the teen in your life to follow our Girls Deserve Better Instagram page where we Empower and Protect, Inspire and Inform teen girls to know the signs of exploitation and build their self-worth.

Finally, since its inception in 2000, we have consistently advocated for the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and its subsequent reauthorizations, including the introduced “Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2023″ which is making its way through committees now.

The problem is big but there is much we can do.

Because women—and girls— deserve better,

Joyce McCauley-Benner
Director of Public Education

P.S. Update: Senator Blackburn calls on Senator Durbin to follow through with his promise to make all of Epstein’s flight logs public.