If you know a girl who is planning to run away from home, please help her find a different solution. Home might very well be hell, but she is at extreme risk to exchange that hell for another that will be far worse: being forced to walk the streets, or sold as a slave to stock harems and brothels in the oil-rich states of the Persian Gulf.
These girls are the perfect age – between twelve and sixteen – to be successfully exploited for sexual purposes for at least ten or fifteen years. By their mid- to late twenties, no longer considered “prime meat,” they are often consigned to brothels so low on the food chain and so brutal that life expectancy is calculated in weeks, or sold as cannon fodder to sickos or perverts engaging in unspeakably horrific practices.
Traffickers know where to look for runaways – bus stations, train stations, parks, etc. – and can spot them at 50 paces. Traffickers are fully aware that these girls have been abused physically and emotionally and are extremely vulnerable: broke, frightened, and incapable of making life-changing decisions: all they know is, they can’t bear living at home another minute.
Traffickers will offer a sympathetic shoulder, a place to stay, and present themselves as the solution to all of their victim’s problems. Sometimes, to increase their credibility, they even claim to be from a religious rescue mission or other respected community organization.
And they don’t care one bit that they’re destroying lives; they’re simply interested in making money. As long as there is a market for young girls, there will be monsters who will find a way to supply it, and runaways are almost certain to fall into their clutches.
What can you do if you know a girl who is planning to run away? School counselors are usually wonderful resources, who have at their fingertips lists of organizations that can step in and help, or arrange for foster care or arrange for other alternatives. The Salvation Army and similar groups may be able to offer temporary housing as well as emotional support.
Friends don’t let friends run away from home completely alone and unprotected!