“How many people have you saved?” That’s a question folks in the various abolition camps are asked regularly. We’re painted into this numbers corner, where we’re expected to produce data without complete input. Then we need to compare our own experience, so the asker can assess our efficacy prior to deciding our value.
I bet you didn’t know a simple question like that could cause such rancor.
That’s the thing. We really don’t know how many slaves are out there, how many abortions are performed, or how many drug users are active. I’ve dabbled in fact-checking government and NGO projections and the story is the same. “If we knew exactly how many, then we could attack it directly, but we don’t so we’ll just focus on these components and hope for the best.” Obviously, I’m paraphrasing.
Think I’m jaded? The government says around 100,000 children enter into trafficking every year. That’s straight forward, sex (rape) for profit. But they don’t really include all sexual contact or all forms of commerce. Some private organizations have done the math and say it’s probably more than a million children each year. I sat down and applied widely accepted pedophile/survivor statistics to our population, overlaid them with perpetrator and trafficking menus and got 4.6 million.
I’m very guilty of number judging, even in my own community. Look at the Amber Alert system, when utilized it is very effective. Two thousand kids go missing a day, but Amber Alerts are only utilized for a few dozen kids a year. They even boast about how many successful locates they have. Personally, I don’t know if I see a difference between a man grabbing a child off the street and that man private messaging that same child to come to him, or he’ll kill her family. In my mind, celebrating a couple hundred found children in the face of hundreds of thousands of missing ones is lame.
I imagine that’s why the government is low-balling. Truly tackling child sex trafficking would mean attacking the demand. Let’s face, there isn’t a profile for these buyers that won’t step on toes all the way to the top of America’s class/cast system. More than that, we’re combating a special kind of stupid. Can you believe there are people that insist that sex predators can be cured… and that by extension life sentences for crimes against children are inhumane? I can commit premeditated murder once with zero proclivity towards repeating it, and spend forever in jail to appease my dead victim’s relations. But throwing away the key for someone whose victim is still alive is a civil rights violation?
Want to really screw with someone? Researches have suggested that as much as 5% (nearly 16M) Americans molest children (pedophiles)… That does not include the low/no contact pornographers or adults who prefer victims between 14 and 17. About a third of hands-on pedophiles report having multiple victims, to the tune of 260 children in their lifetime. If you do the math… that’s more than a billion per generation. So, how is everyone not being raped through childhood? That’s where trafficking swoops in. Or maybe not? There’s no easy translation between medical, legal, and practical definition and therefore almost no studies pertaining to child trafficking, molestation, pedophilia, and recidivism. As a matter of fact…. You know what years of research has told us? That pedophilia causes child molestation. Do you know what the research says about the cause of paying to rape teenagers? Yeah, me neither.
So, where were we? How many kids have I saved? Do I get to count the ones rescued by my protégé’s? How about ones that are saved because of my activism? Can I roll in the ones that I merely helped with research? That’s easy. Not enough. I don’t count heads, because, with millions of kids out there, my number will never ever be adequate or impressive. I’ll leave that to the organizations and bean counters. I’m just here to do what I do ‘til the number is zero.