August 25, 2012 — Documentaries about a vicious type of crime -- sexual trafficking in teenage girls -- are reappearing on television. Last week, MSNBC told of American teens who were abducted, drugged, beaten and raped to force them into prostitution. Maddeningly, police were slow to believe desperate parents, and brushed off victims as mere runaways.
Worldwide, sex trafficking is a monstrous evil. The U.N.'s International Labor Organization estimates that about 12 million people around the planet are held in forced bondage of all sorts at any given time -- most of them women or girls coerced into the sex trade.
Victims usually are poor teens from southern Asia, Russia, Eastern Europe, Latin America or other places with few opportunities. They're tricked by phony promises of jobs, education or marriage -- then brutalized into sexual servitude. Many are transported to foreign countries where they can't speak the language and don't know how to escape from confined quarters. They're vulnerable to disease, pregnancy, drug addiction and violence, even murder.