Problem Solution Essay on Sex Trafficking

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Looking at Angelique Patterson today, you would never guess that her run-ins with sexual violence started at the very young age of five. After being sexually abused, Patterson started down a ‘dark path’ that made her begin cutting herself at the age of seven, and by age eleven, she had begun abusing drugs and alcohol. Her parents, fearing for her life, found Patterson a treatment center in Florida. So, they sent her on a flight to Florida. However, instead of going to rehab, she used the money to check into a hotel. When she could no longer pay for the room, she lived on the beach. Everything was becoming a blur to her due to her getting so high on heroin that she could not think. When she was loitering outside a liquor store, a man approached her and said, “Are you doing alright?” The man told her he had a place to stay. Without thinking, she went with him back to his house. Later that same night, the man took her away and she was raped by three men. When she asked for an explanation, he said simply, “Nothing in life is free baby, so if you want to stay here, you have to earn your stay.”

Angelique was taken to highways, motels, and truck stops and sold ten to fifteen times a day. After a severe beating, she remembered a local nurse had given her a phone number to call if she ever wanted to leave. After coming to her senses, she called the nurse, and she drove her five hours to a rehab clinic to help her begin to heal her addiction to heroin and alcohol. After being in detox and finding Jesus, she shares her story with survivors just like her and speaks to many crowds across the country (NBC News). Angelique’s story is one of millions of other women and girls across the United States. The issue is spreading rapidly throughout the country, and it is eighty- percent of what human trafficking constitutes. Sex trafficking is a problem in the United States because of the easy money that is earned, the manipulation of women and girls, and how the “industry” is concealed.

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According to Polaris, a sex trafficking awareness website, there have been thirty-four thousand, eight hundred cases of sex trafficking in the United States since 2007. (Polaris Project) Sex trafficking is a problem in the United States because of the easy profits that can be e made by exploiting young women and girls. In the sex trafficking business, girls come with a price. Prices can vary from pimp to pimp, but prices can usually go from fifty to three hundred dollars an hour. According to a source, one pimp had three girls bringing him back five hundred dollars each, a day. (Frundt) And all this money adds up, and the result is scary. The International Labor Organization, or ILO, estimates that human trafficking, which includes sex trafficking, generates an estimated one hundred fifty billion dollars per year, illegally. (Collins) It is also popular because the profits are more promising than drug or weapon trafficking. Vanity Fair states that “You can sell a pound of heroin or an AK-47 once, but you can sell a young girl multiple times a day.” (Collins) Money is a major factor in the sex trafficking world, and it can make or break a trafficked girl. If the girls do not meet the “quota” set by their pimp, they can face punishments ranging from forced sexual intercourse to actual beatings, and like Angelique, even threatened to death. To avoid this, some girls stay out longer than they are allotted to get the profit they need to make their pimp happy and satisfied. They also must obey any rule the pimp gives them. One girl recalls that they “had to avoid any type of law enforcement-he said we couldn’t risk getting caught.” (Archer) If girls disobey their pimp, it could result in severe repercussions, from no food for a week to isolation. These punishments can damage the girls mentally, and for some, send them into a downward spiral into oblivion.

Police departments across the country are warning users of popular dating apps such as Tinder and to be on the lookout for anything that looks suspicious. Why? Pimps are now using dating websites and services to lure in unassuming users of the app. (Polaris Project) However, this is only one of the many ways pimps use to lure in new girls. Sex trafficking is a problem in the United States because of how pimps are manipulating women and girls. Tsin Yeh Koh, a student at Harvard University, states that the most common ways pimps use to lure in girls are fake job offers, fake companies, Craigslist ads, and newspaper job postings. (Yeh Koh) And according to the FBI, it’s becoming more and more common in many cases they come across all around the country. Investigators also disclosed that they target girls who have low self-esteem, are impoverished, have been previously sexually abused, and in general want a better life for themselves. When Angelique ran away, she wasn’t impoverished, but she had been sexually abused and she was writhing in self-hatred. Pimps prey on this, as they see that this vulnerability can lead them easily to win over a girl’s mind and heart. Often, pimps will buy the girls drugs and alcohol, but it is not for the girl’s personal enjoyment. Pimps use these to make the girls unaware of the real world and zombie-like, which means they are less likely to argue when they are to be serviced. Brittni Lange, a survivor from Hope House in New Orleans says, “All the drugs in the world couldn't numb the pain that the girls I lived with and myself felt.” (Lange) To prevent this, many mothers are educating their daughters on how to keep themselves safe when they are out and about. (Collins) They are told to never walk the streets alone, especially at night, to avoid talking to strangers, and to always refuse anyone’s request to take them or drive them anywhere. These mothers hope that if they can educate their daughters, then it will inspire other women to teach their daughters the same. One mother of three teenage girls says, “If we keep our girls educated and help them use common sense…we can keep our beautiful girls out of the hands of these predators.” (Archer)

Looking at the city of New Orleans, one would expect to see the city’s energetic atmosphere, its French roots, and its historic architecture. However, what most Americans don’t know about the city is that it is a hotbed for sex trafficking. Alongside Dallas, Texas, it is ranked one of the worst cities for sex trafficking in the United States. Just recently, the state of Louisiana was awarded a one-point two-million-dollar grant to help the victims of sex trafficking. But the question is, how do the residents of New Orleans not see or notice anything suspicious going on? Sex trafficking is a problem in the United States because of how the “industry” conceals itself. Thankfully, researchers have been able to help provide information and signs on what to keep an eye out for when it comes to sex trafficking. According to UNITAS, parents should be worried if there are drastic changes in mood, behavior, grades, slang, and overall contentment with life. (Collins) Experts and law enforcement hope that these signs can help alert parents and friends of exploited teenagers and women to escape captivity. Thousands of miles away in New York City, Rachel Lloyd’s nonprofit organization is helping to rescue girls from the commercial sex life and help them get the healing they need and deserve. The Girl’s Education and Mentoring Services (GEMS) have helped hundreds of thousands of girls across the United States since nineteen ninety-eight. Lloyd started the nonprofit organization to help educate and bring girls back to a normal lifestyle. Lloyd herself has said, “Girls weren’t drug addicted, they were love addicted, and that, I’ve learned, is far harder to treat.”

One way we can end this issue in our country is to revise and revisit the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2013, as well as strengthen the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act and the Fight Online Sex Traffickers Act. Sex trafficking has become an epidemic in the United States due to the easy money that can be earned, the manipulation of women, and the concealment of the “industry”. As a country, we need to raise more awareness of this very important issue. As President Trump stated in his State of The Union address, there has been an influx of migrant girls being sexually exploited on American soil. He asked Congress to pass legislation helping to prevent this from happening. Whether these girls are migrants or not, they do not deserve to be exploited for a sick person’s own benefit or enjoyment. Many girls who have escaped ‘the life’ have become activists who are pushing for a crackdown on sex trafficking, longer sentences for offenders, and relief for girls who are rescued. In January, he made the following statement regarding human trafficking, which constitutes sex trafficking: “This is an urgent humanitarian issue. My administration is committed to leveraging every resource we must to confront this threat, to support the victims and survivors, and to hold traffickers accountable for their heinous crimes” (Trump). If there is more done to combat these issues, we can possibly eradicate sex trafficking. This horrible issue has continued in our country for too long, and we haven’t done enough to stop it. We should come together as Americans as friends and as activists and help the cycle of sexual trafficking and exploitation. The thousands of girls who are exploited and abused every day are silently pleading for help, and more often than not, their pleas are never heard. These girls are silently suffering, and it is time we save them from these monsters that control them and destroy their lives and well-being. For our country, for our safety, and for our girls.

Works Cited

    1. “A Sex Trafficking Survivor's Story.” WGBA, NBC, 31 Oct. 2018, sex-trafficking-survivor-s-story.
    2. Frundt, Tina. “Enslaved in America: Sex Trafficking in the United States.” Women's Funding Network, WFA International, 28 Nov. 2015, united-states/.
    3. Koh, Tsin Yeh. “Human Trafficking: Overview.” Points Of View, Ebscohost, 2012, c74fb540326a%40sessionmgr103&bdata=JnNpdGU9cG92LWxpdmU%3d#AN=847828
    4. UNITAS Public Charity. “Human Trafficking 101.” UNITAS – United To Fight Against Human Trafficking, 2018, gclid=EAIaIQobChMI19z5teya4AIVUD0MCh2jgAh-EAAYAiAAEgJgRfD_BwE.
    5. “President Donald J. Trump Is Fighting to Eradicate Human Trafficking.” The White House, The United States Government, 2019,
    6. “President Donald J. Trump Is Fighting to Eradicate Human Trafficking.” The White House, The United States Government, 2019,
    7. Litten, Kevin. “The Track: How Sex Trafficking Has Taken Hold of Bourbon Street.”,, 23 Oct. 2017,
    8. “Human Trafficking In America.” Edited by PT Editorial, Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 2013,
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