WARNING: Graphic Images
The website Backpage.com made tens of millions of dollars running “adult” classified ads for escorts and erotic services (many offering children). Faced with a Senate investigation, a grand jury inquiry in Arizona, and two federal suits in California, the site removed such ads earlier this year [1A].
That has not stopped the trafficking of children.
Labels like “Amber Alert” and “Lolita” (intended to signal the involvement of children in sexual activity) may have been replaced with phrases like “100% young” and “oh daddy can I be your candy” [1B]. But ads like those under investigation continue to run in the dating section of the site, as well as elsewhere online.
Children in the Sex Trade
The majority of children involved in the sex trade come from poor and dysfunctional families. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 35% of the underage prostitutes charged nationally are African American. In some geographic areas, that percentage is even higher.
While it is uncertain how many children are forced into prostitution annually, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates there was an 800% increase between 2010 -2015 due to the increased sale of children for sex online.
“Scared and cold,
first night on the streets
Your body hurts
from your head to your feet…
every penny gotta spend
Make a wrong move…Boom –
your life comes to an end
-Daniel, 16 y.o., “Run Away” 
According to the National Crime Information Center, there are some 435,342 children currently missing in the United States. While custody disputes account for a large percentage of the children reported missing, the suspicion by law enforcement is that the remaining children – at least those still alive – are being trafficked. Continue reading