Children in Chains: Part I

Sep 162004
Authors: Meg Burd

A man named James abducts a child from an orphanage in London.

Trafficking the child around the globe, he first ships the young

victim to Romania, where a life of prostitution and horrific

pornography ensues for the helpless child.

Selling the child to a brothel in Thailand, James was found

attempting to repeat this grotesque abuse cycle on yet another

child in a back alley of Romania. Confronted with deadly force by

David Race Bannon, an international operative for Interpol, James

did not live to abuse or traffic another child.

Disturbingly, the stories of predators such as James are not

rare in today’s world. Indeed, the global trafficking of children

ranging from barely toddlers to mid-teens is a sickening and

booming international business, estimated by Europol and the United

Nations to be worth several billion dollars a year.

Called “the worst kind of exploitation imaginable” by Colin

Powell in an interview with Dateline NBC, the global tragedy of

child sexual slavery is often overlooked as a global crisis or

indeed imagined as some horrific fiction. Bannon, however, can

attest to the horrific reality of this international and growing

crime epidemic.

“It’s a testament to our decency that it’s so hard to

comprehend,” Bannon said of this terrible crime. However, he added:

“This is not a fantasy. Unfortunately, it is horrifically real. A

modern holocaust that deserves world attention.”

Starting out as young missionary working in Korea, Bannon

recruited by Interpol thanks to his knowledge of martial arts and

fluent Korean, a story he relates in his book “Race Against Evil”

and in his numerous interviews with news outlets such as National

Public Radio and, most recently, the Boulder Weekly.

An agent working for Interpol (the second largest international

organization after the United Nations; founded to work against

international crime) Bannon was part of the Archangel project, an

arm of Interpol designed to track and mete out justice to child

traffickers and pornographers. As he relates it, the time he spent

working for this organization led him to realize the startling

reality of this global crime.

“Trafficking exists in every nation on the globe. Every nation

has individuals who will pay to have sex with children,” Bannon

sadly noted at an event this past weekend for the Colorado-based

organization Free A Child. Indeed, with globalization on the rise,

the number of child sexual slaves and children trafficked for

sexual exploitation seems to be growing at a troubling rate.

Statistics on this crime, Bannon points out, are notoriously

difficult to obtain and often disputed. Bannon points to U.N.

reports of 4 million children trafficked annually (trafficking

being defined in the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons

report as a form of modern-day slavery in which victims are forced,

defrauded or coerced into sexual or labor exploitation). The State

Department gives a considerably more conservative number, placing

the number of women and children trafficked across international

borders worldwide at 600,000 to 800,000 annually. The National

Center For Missing and Exploited Children looks at individual

places, noting that places such as Sri Lanka have a reported

100,000 children between the ages of 6 and 14 working in brothels

and an additional 5,000 between 10 and 18 years old working in

tourist areas. In Taiwan, the agency suggests that there are around

100,000 children in the sex industry.

Regardless of the numbers, Bannon emphasized in his speech

Sunday that this crime deserves our attention. “One child is more

than enough, don’t you think? Just one.”

Indeed, as will be discussed in Part II and III of this series

in following weeks, even one child having to suffer through the

horrific crime of child sexual slavery and trafficking is one too


*Please look next week for Part II of “Children in Chains: Child

Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation as a Global Crisis.”

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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