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January 27, 2006

Local television station exposes trafficking in Tex.

I-Team: Young children forced into a world of prostitution.
Web Posted: 11/11/2005 02:47 AM CST
Brandy Ralston
KENS 5 Eyewitness News

A young girl, just 6 years old, forced into prostitution. Another who's 7 has lived in a brothel for three years. It may sound hard to believe, but each year more than a million children are sold as sex slaves. In a KENS 5 I-Team investigation, Brandy Ralston discovered some of them are trafficked right through San Antonio.

“There's almost no country in the world that's immune from this crime. It's one of the three largest profit-making criminal activities of organized crime around the world,” spokeswoman for the International Justice Mission Sharon Cohn said.

They are the children, the innocent victims that groups like International Justice Mission are trying to save.

“International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that rescues victims of violence, oppression, sexual exploitations and slavery,” Cohn said. “I remember a girl who said through a translator, ‘Thank you very much for rescuing me.”

She's helped rescue young girls all around the globe who have been sold by their families, kidnapped, or gone on their own with the promise of a better life.

“The youngest girls we've ever rescued were in Cambodia, where we rescued about 10 girls under the age of 10 who were being sold primarily to Western pedophiles who traveled to Cambodia specifically for the purpose of having sex with young children,” Cohn said.

“These are crimes against children, the most vulnerable members of our society, and they're going to be protected by the U.S. government,” said San Antonio division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Al Peña [?].

He says the U.S. passed the protection act in 2003 to cut down on what they call sex tourism. Already, there have been 12 cases of men arrested and accused of traveling to foreign countries to have sex with children.

“We'll go after you no matter where you go commit your offenses. The U.S. government will pursue you and bring you to justice,” Peña said.

Read the rest of the story here.


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