Kids For Sale: The Realities of Sex Trafficking on Our Streets

By Diane Cole

September/October 2011

With so many harrowing tales about homeless youth and sex-trafficked teens appearing with gruesome regularity on Law & Order: SVU and other popular crime shows, you’d hope there might be more public outrage spurring help for these young victims. Then again, since this is only TV, you might also wonder if these stories weren’t so much ripped from the headlines as exaggerated fabrications. It sure would be easier to get to sleep after watching those distressing dramas, if that were so!

Don’t count on a comfortable snooze yet. Two new books—Girls Like Us: Fighting For a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, by Rachel Lloyd, and Ask Me Why I Hurt: The Kids Nobody Wants and the Doctor Who Heals Them, by Randy Christensen with Rene Denfeld—confirm that the gritty TV depictions of kids scratching out an existence on the streets is just the tip of a grimy iceberg. Together, they chronicle the real-life stories of a world of pain. They introduce us to vulnerable, already traumatized, preteen girls who are victimized by pimps and abused by johns; runaways sleeping in garbage-strewn ditches; retarded or mentally ill kids roaming the streets on their own; adolescents suffering from infections, illnesses, or lack of nutrition, with little or no access to basic medical care.

These books provide hope, represented by the projects and programs through which these authors are changing the lives of some of these kids. Randy Christensen…

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