The root of the problem is “johns” . . . that being a colloquialism for men who patronize prostitutes. It’s bad enough when occurring adult-to-adult, but it’s despicable, horrendous, vile, loathsome and a host of other damnable adjectives when men prey on children.
Since I’m located in Washington State, let’s look at some figures for this area. An April 2017 headline in MYNorthwest: “Child sex trafficking – as easy in Seattle as ordering a pizza.” A line from the article: “Police estimate up to 500 teens, some children as young as 12 years old, are working as sex slaves every day in King County.”
Several years ago I spent a whole afternoon with five Seattle police officers from the VICE/High Risk Victims Unit, which partners with the Washington Advisory Committee on Trafficking (WashACT), a multi-disciplinary taskforce convened in 2006 by the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington to tackle the epidemic of human trafficking. Our conversation that day revealed that the problem we’re talking about is NOT a small problem. It is something that is ruining the lives of children every day, three-hundred and sixty-five days a year.
If there were no “johns,” there would be no child sex-trafficking. But the problem is that there appears to be no solution. Men who prey sexually on little girls are sick . . . very, very sick. Enabling a life-changing attitude switch in them seems generally unlikely-to-impossible. How the legal and mental health systems deal with them appears to be where the focus should be. But just what to do? That’s the ongoing task . . . the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question.