A recent case in Atlanta, USA illustrates the depravity exhibited by adult males who prey on children for their sexual satisfaction. In that case, a then 12-year old girl was repeatedly raped and sold for sex over a 3 month period by a 40-year old male friend of her mother who was supposed to babysit the child whenever her mother went out to work as a stripper.
The man raped the girl on numerous occasions and also plied her with narcotics and sold her to other men for US$600.00 per session! Most of the money was used to finance his drug addiction while on some occasions she was allowed to keep a small portion of the fee.
The child never divulged the abuse to her mother. However, the situation was discovered after she fell into a drug-induced coma for three days!
While there are persons who would conclude that the mother was engaged in a dangerous lifestyle and the sex trafficker was a drug addict and a reprobate, it came as a surprise that one of the customers who paid to have sex with this pre-pubescent child was none other than the President and CEO of a data security company.
The businessman, who is married and the father of three children, initially denied the allegations but pleaded guilty in December 2011 to child molestation charges and was to face statutory rape charges last month.
So who is a child sex predator? What kind of man pays for sex with children?
Psychologists, international reports as well as the case-law show us that the profile of a child sex trafficking customer is varied. They can be any age, married or in a committed relationship, fathers and grandfathers, poor and uneducated, as well as wealthy and well-educated.
That means that responsible parents and guardians should not take anything for granted and should learn the indicators of sex trafficking so as to prevent their children falling prey to such abuses and to be able to curtail any abuse to which their children may have already been exposed.
The sex trafficker in this case was recently sentenced to 17 years in prison. The businessman was sentenced to 10 years in prison on the child molestation charges and faces more jail time for the statutory rape charges.
In Trinidad and Tobago our Trafficking In Persons Act, No. 14 of 2011 calls for TT$500,000.00 fines and or prison time of 20 years for trafficking a child.
However, the optimal situation would be to prevent children from being trafficked and violated in the first place. That requires that we as a society challenge the prevailing attitudes of men that females of any age and even boys are nothing more than objects for male sexual pleasure.
Until we address and change those attitudes and consequential behaviour, we will continue to see a trail of broken lives and shamed men until our youth are unable to function effectively and our prisons are overcrowded with sex offenders.
Stand up Trinidad ans Tobago!
It is time to act decisively to end the demand!