POSTED: Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 5:51pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 5:56pm
It’s a huge industry worldwide, and it’s built on tragedy.
Some call it the modern slave trade.
And like the original slave trade, it isn’t just happening in some far away land.
It’s on our doorstep.
It may seem like the exotic plot of a movie thriller.
Young women abducted and sold into the international sex trade.
But it’s all too real.
27-million sex slaves can attest to that.
Mary Frances Bowley works with the girls who are caught up in this sordid business.
“Well, the White Umbrella Campaign came about because we wrote a book and we’re using that book as a platform to go into the cities where we have partners trying to build capacity to serve girls who are victims of sexual trafficking,” Bowley says.
And it is profitable….worth $32 billion worldwide.
The second largest illegal business in the world.
And it is here.
The average age of a girl entering a life of prostitution is 13.
1.2 million children are pushed, or cajoled into the sex trade every year…100,000 in this country alone.
And for every 3 girls who run away, 1 will be approached by a pimp within 48 hours.
Sheriff Larry Smith says, years ago, we just weren’t as aware.
“Looking back now, knowing what I know now,” says Smith, “I did work a few cases where we tried it or prosecuted it as something else, but it was very much the same as what we’re talking about now.”
“We’re talking about young girls that are born here,” says Smith, “and their being raised here and it’s happening to them.”
The White Umbrella Campaign  is based in Atlanta, Georgia and is trying to give these girls their lives back.