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A FUTURE. NOT A PAST. A FITURE. NOT A PAST.
 
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Thousands of young lives are being wasted because of adults’ actions. Children are being commercially used for sexual gratification and or profit in rampant proportions.

University of Pennsylvania professor of social work and president of the International Society of Quality of Life Studies, Richard J. Estes, PhD, states, “It is the nation’s least recognized epidemic.”

Estes and Neil Allan Weiner, PhD, Senior Research Associate, Center for the Study of Youth Policy in the School of Social Work, University of Pennsylvania, are the primary investigators and authors of the study The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. This study, published in 2002, was conducted over 27 months. They collected data and true stories from 17 American cities as well as cities in Canada and Mexico. These locations were chosen for size, known problems, history of attempting to reduce commercial sexual exploitation of children in their communities, and a presence of a network of child- and youth-serving organizations.




Major groups of sexual exploiters of children include parents, older siblings, boyfriends, strangers and “opportunistic” exploiters.

Sexually exploited children are quite heterogeneous. These include those living in their own homes as well as those who are runaways and throwaways.

Criminal networks are actively involved in the sexual exploitation of children, a financially lucrative enterprise.
In Atlanta, Georgia, supported by Mayor Shirley Franklin, another study was commissioned in 2005. The Atlanta Women’s Agenda, the mayor’s initiative to highlight issues affecting women and bring together new energy for change, conducted the study entitled Hidden in Plain View: The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Girls in Atlanta.  

Mayor Franklin pledged funding
and her time to bring these facts to the public and help to the girls.
 
The report of this study initially explains:

      “The prostitution of children is usually thought of as a third world country problem, along with poor water and endemic disease, but this abomination takes place all over the United States. In 2001, the groundbreaking study by Estes and Weiner revealed that between 200,000 and 300,000 children are believed to be at-risk for sexual exploitation in the United States. The sexual exploitation of children has become the third-largest moneymaker for organized crime, right behind guns and drugs. Atlanta is not exempt; in fact it has been identified as a hub for this appalling trade.”

      In on-going research commissioned by A Future. Not A Past., which is a campaign to stop the prostitution of children in Georgia, there are 200-300 girls a month in the state prostituted on the streets, over the internet, through escort services and in major hotels. To put that number in context, there are more girls harmed by prostitution in one month in Georgia than are killed in car accidents in an entire year.

     Executive Director John Croyle, of Big Oak Ranch, Springville, Alabama, states, “Many of the 160 children living at the facility have been sexually abused or exploited by their own family members.”
 
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