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Recent arrests reinforce the fact that children are sold for profit and pleasure

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Last Wed. the Sacramento FBI office announced that three individuals from Stockton were arrested on charges associated with sex trafficking a minor who was recruited and transported from Orlando, Florida. Two of the suspects are women: Patricia Poulson 22, and Jessica McCrary, 20 years old. The third suspect is a registered sex offender, Vincent Hudson, 44 years old.

Gina Swankie is the Public Affairs Specialist for the Sacramento FBI office. “This case will be prosecuted in Florida, the indictment was filed with the Middle District of Florida,” she said in an email accompanying the press release.

Jenny Williamson is the founder of Courage WorldWide, a Sacramento regional non-profit dedicated to the prevention and intervention of sex trafficking and helps survivors recover and restore their lives. “I was shocked that a child had been taken so far from their home – sold across this country for the profit of one and the pleasure of another,” she said. “And I was so disappointed by the fact that young women were a part of the trafficking though I suspect they were once young victims themselves.”

The modern conditions for exploiting children are tremendous because network connectivity facilitates open, world-wide communication. Grooming children who may be sharing too much about their painful, needy emotions on-line has become an efficient process for the pimp to manipulate them. And this reality is horrifying. “We live in a world, in a country, in a city and a state where children are sold for sex,” Williamson said. “We must become outraged over this fact and support those committed to fighting this atrocity against our most vulnerable citizens.”

Every child in the social network is at risk: What is a parent to do?

The most important thing we can do is prepare ourselves and our children for the encounters with people and information promoting sex as something it is not: a commodity to be exchanged for love and acceptance.

Craig Gross is the founder of XXXChurch, dedicated to the prevention, intervention and recovery of sex addiction. He encourages parents to have open and age appropriate dialogue about sex and sexuality, starting when your children are young. “Tell them you are going to be truthful about sex at all times, so they can recognize a ‘lie’ when it shows up.” And according to Gross, the lies are prolific in popular culture. “Movies, like Anchorman for example, promote masturbation and sex as a comical experience[trivializing it], and whether you allow your child to see such films we have to accept that this is how sex is presented to them in the world. So plan on it.”

You can learn more about healthy, age-appropriate ways to talk to your child about sex and sexuality in Gross’ book, Touchy Subjects.

Recovering the children

Williamson encourages folks to not give up hope. Courage WorldWide provides a safe haven for girls in recovery from sex trafficking located in Northern California and Tanzania, Africa. She witnesses firsthand how much courage the girls must muster in order to reclaim their own lives.

“I know the difficult journey this young lady must take to find healing and restoration,” she said. “My prayers are with her and her family – if she has one.”

You can make a donation to support Courage WorldWide.

Parent education event on sex and the internet

  • Internet porn and sexting: What kids need parents to know
  • Date: Sunday, April 27, 2014
  • Time: 2pm to 5pm
  • Where: Life Community Church 10020 Foothills Blvd., Roseville, CA 916-788-2697
  • Free and open to the public. Register here