The Family as Human Trafficking Prevention

By Adia Lancaster

Once her mom pulled into the driveway, Pam raced out of the car and straight into her room, shut the door, plopped on her bed, and began to speed text her new love interest. Even though they met only a few weeks ago, Pam feels she’s known Jay since grade school. He’s the only person that gets her. Jay always lets her know how much he loves all her quirks, even though she despises herself for them. He understands that she is old enough to make her own decisions and shares her disgust for her parents, who are too controlling. He gets that it’s not easy being 14 and entirely ignored by her old group of friends, but she has him now, and they can brave the world together.

Jay asks to meet in person. Pam is nervous but crazy excited. She has to make it work out somehow, but how? Well, her parents have no idea what’s been going on with her and her friends at school; for all they know, they think she’s still good friends with Lisa. Pam hatched a plan to ask her parents if she could sleep over at Lisa’s to meet Jay. Pam’s parents agree to let her spend the night at Lisa’s. She quickly packs her things, shouting to her parents that she’s leaving. Hurriedly bouncing out the door, Pam’s heart is beating out of her chest as she walks to the corner where Jay said he’ll pick her up. As Pam reaches the corner, a car pulls up with the windows down, and an older guy she doesn’t recognize tells her to get in. Pam is terrified and freezes, not knowing what to do – run away or go with this strange man? He tells her that he’s Jay and is finally happy to meet Pam. Pam hesitates, opens the car door, and gets in.

Pam, who was reported missing by her parents, was commercially sexually exploited and sold online for two weeks until they reunited with her.

Commercial sexual exploitation is a form of human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking. Also known as modern-day slavery, human trafficking happens when a person is controlled through force, fraud, or coercion to exploit them for personal or commercial gain. Since Pam was a minor and induced to perform commercial sex acts, the critical components of force, fraud, or coercion don’t apply to her, making her automatically a victim of sex trafficking.

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