Today, two cultural forces are converging to make America's youth easy targets for sex traffickers. Younger and younger girls are engaging in adult sexual attitudes and practices, and the pressure to conform means thousands have little self-worth and are vulnerable to exploitation.Read more...
Today, two cultural forces are converging to make America's youth easy targets for sex traffickers. Younger and younger girls are engaging in adult sexual attitudes and practices, and the pressure to conform means thousands have little self-worth and are vulnerable to exploitation. At the same time, thanks to social media, texting, and chatting services, predators are able to ferret out their victims more easily than ever before. In Walking Prey, advocate and former victim Holly Austin Smith shows how middle class suburban communities are fast becoming the new epicenter of sex trafficking in America. Smith speaks from experience: Without consistent positive guidance or engagement, Holly was ripe for exploitation at age fourteen. A chance encounter with an older man led her to run away from home, and she soon found herself on the streets of Atlantic City. Her experience led her, two decades later, to become one of the foremost advocates for trafficking victims. Smith argues that these young women should be treated as victims by law enforcement, but that too often the criminal justice system lacks the resources and training to prevent the vicious cycle of prostitution. This is a clarion call to take a sharp look at one of the most striking human rights abuses, and one that is going on in our own backyard.
- ISBN-13: 9781137278739
- ISBN-10: 1137278730
- Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan
- Publish Date: March 2014
- Page Count: 248
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-12-23
- Reviewer: Staff
As a survivor of sex trafficking who became an advocate for fellow victims, Smith addresses what too many Americans are willing to ignore: that sex trafficking is very much alive in contemporary America. Her account successfully analyzes what makes American children vulnerable to sexual exploitation, exposes current weaknesses in treatment for and of victims, debunks myths about child sex trafficking, and provides advice for adults to deal with this serious problem. Throughout, Smith uses her own experience as a 14-year-old prostitute in Atlantic City to underline the severity and salience of her points. While certain factors, like early sexual abuse and unstable communities, can contribute to a child's vulnerability to pimps and predators, Smith also explores how mass-media and pop-culture tropes about love and romance play a more subtle role. In addition to pointing out warning signs and methods of prevention, Smith focuses extensively on the failings of the legal and support systems in helping child victims heal. Practical tips and resources are plentiful, and are provided for all those potentially involved: children, parents, teachers, law enforcement, counselors. Smith's approach is comprehensive and from a survivor's perspective, offering a solid introduction to the topic, our current resources, and strategies to deal with it. (Mar.)