Recently, a 14-year-old girl in the Texas foster care system asked for food, and a staff member proposed she go into sex work. The employee was fired last week. This latest story of a child being encouraged to engage in prostitution is unfortunately nothing new. Experts estimate one in four children in the system is abused.
“Sadly, victim advocates have always known that those most at risk for trafficking and other forms of abuse/exploitation are those in foster care, the homeless, and runaways,” observes FFL Speaker, rape survivor, and anti-sex trafficking expert Joyce McCauley-Benner. “Some victims have already come from abusive homes, only to be set forth into another system that is overwhelmed and staffed by people who are either undertrained or outright corrupt. We must find a way to reach all youth — especially the most neglected — and let them know they are FOREVER PRICELESS and they deserve better!”
McCauley-Benner added as a reminder: “Federal law states ALL commercial sex acts (i.e. those in exchange for money, food, basic needs, etc.) with people under 18 are trafficking. There is no such thing as ‘sex work’ for a teen! I cannot stress this enough.”
For FFL President Serrin M. Foster, stories like these are all too personal: “Evidently, little has changed in the foster care system since the Great Depression, when my father was starved, waterboarded, and beaten to the point that a woman’s high heel marks were embedded in his skin. As Feminists for Life, we care about children after birth. The question is: Why is this abuse continuing? We know predators are attracted to positions that have access to their ‘prey.’ Why are those responsible not doing intense background checks before hiring as well as placement, surprise inspections, and providing a way for these kids to call for help? Who would oppose commonsense solutions — except the predators?”
Joyce is available for your next in-person or virtual event to share her expertise and pro-woman, pro-life witness. To have her present “Slaves Among Us: Sex Trafficking in the U.S.” or “Victory Over Violence,” her personal story of discovering she was pregnant after rape and not knowing who the father was, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because women — and girls — deserve better,
Damian J. Geminder
Director of Education & Editor
Feminists for Life of America