One of the things that I read a while back stated that a majority of girls that are pushed into sexual slavery are teen runaways. This was the case in a recent capture of a man (Michael Harris, 25) who was pimping out girls ages 12 and 15— both runaways.
Why are these teens good targets? Because they’re running away, they need a place to stay– and quickly they are ensnared and brainwashed to do the unthinkable. They need the money– but most of all, the man has convinced them that they need him.
Now, apart from the part of me that doesn’t understand where the runaway’s parents are (perhaps they are orphans or in foster homes?), my next question is do we really realize the danger that is out there waiting to prey on our teens. This isn’t a third world country we’re talking about, this is Arizona!
What I see here is a growing disconnect between the adult generation and the teenage one, and I don’t think that there is any one single thing that can be identified as the one fault.
The biggest, no doubt, is a lack of communication. We live in a society that believes that we have to do all we can to earn all we can so we can amass all we can. Just look at our waistlines! In the process, we’ve glorified two parents working and who is home with the kids when they get home from school?
But it’s deeper than that. We’ve typecast teenagers as rebellious, people that adults cannot understand. We’ve frozen them in between childhood and adulthood– not affording them the responsibilities of adulthood (i.e. a job, etc.) and criticizing them for playing. In ancient times you were considered an adult at 12. Today it’s anyone’s guess when you become an adult. Some 40 year olds joke that they still haven’t grown up.
And this puts our teens at risk. We need to make them important in our lives. We need to get them active and engaged. They do not need to be rebellious, and it can be some of the best times of their lives. So, are we up to the challenge?