Oakland, CA is considered by the FBI to be a hot spot for child prostitution. Today NPR’s All Things Considered and independent producer Youth Radio aired the first of a two part series about child sex trafficking in the area. The series is especially notable because it tells the stories of victims of trafficking – something the mainstream media has largely failed to do. In news reports the children involved are often represented largely by numbers and statistics, and referred to as “underage prostitutes” rather than victims of sexual abuse.
The first chapter of Trafficked relays the stories of Darlene and Brittney (not their real names), two teenage girls who were forced into prostitution at the age of 15. Darlene says to understand the problem of child sex trafficking, you have to understand the girls:
You honestly have to believe that they are more than a girl on the corner. They’re somebody’s daughter, somebody’s niece. They’re being sold out there. Some people are standing on the corner selling fruit. While other people are standing on the same corner selling a girl.
Listen to the part one here. Part two of the series will be about the efforts of local police and the FBI to combat sex trafficking, and will air tomorrow on All Things Considered.