I wanted to share something that’s been weighing heavy on my heart. I’m working to create a long-term partnership with an organization called Shared Hope International, which implements a multifaceted approach to curbing and ending the sex trade. In particular, they do critical work to educate cops and the public on domestic minor sex trafficking, which undoubtedly keeps thousands of girls all across the US from falling victim to the most heinous and least human predators that walk among us.
Shared Hope Int’l, Arizona State University (GO DEVILS!), and the Hickey Foundation partnered to conduct a significant study on sex trafficking of adults and minors in Maricopa County, which was among the first counties in the US to begin recurring training for the public and law enforcement on this critical issue. While there are many important points to come from this study, one in particular struck me:
“Arizona’s boys are falling victim to sex trafficking but receive less attention and victim-centered response than their female counterparts: Many interviewees noted the prevalence of sex trafficking of boys in Arizona. One provider reported that nearly half the youth in its sex trafficking program are male. Law enforcement in two of the regions reported that sting operations utilizing decoy ads for male minor victims received greater response than those of female minor victims. A family advocacy center that serves a tribal community reported high instances of survival sex among 11-14 year-old boys. However, a majority of sting operations target buyers seeking sex with female minors, not male. Training predominantly focuses on vulnerabilities, indicators and response methods for female victims. A majority of shelter and service options in Arizona are specifically designed to address the needs of female sex trafficking victims.”
In the coming months, Detective Alex Landon will face the animals that choose to prey on our children, and readers will get a first-hand look inside the life of these victims. Child sex crimes have always been my toughest cases, and constitute almost all of those I’ve personally had trouble moving past. I expect Landon will endure much of the same emotions and moral dilemmas.
I would greatly appreciate you taking a look at Shared Hope International and their training programs, and I hope that you’ll decide to Join The Cause while you’re there. Please have an equally uncomfortable and worthwhile conversation with your children; I can assure you it’ll be a bit less pleasant than the no-sex-without-love talk. However, the predators who lure, kidnap, extort, imprison, and rape the most vulnerable among us are ruthless, intelligent, and maniacal adversaries. You and your kids deserve to know more about what’s out there.
Shared Hope link:
Maricopa County Report: