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
“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.”