In a recent post I lambasted the attitudes of our society toward men and our interactions with children in this country, but this article from CNN helped remind me how and why these misconceptions come about.
"Selena is a 13 year old who was sold for sex...Like so many other underage trafficking victims, Selena is a chronic runaway, picked up by a pimp after she took off from home."
"According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, there are at least 100,000 underage girls being sex trafficked in America today."I stand by my defense of men and dads in particular. While it is true most pedophiles are men, it is very important to remember most men are not pedophiles. However, we can't ignore the real dangers to our children and to children of the world.
Internationally, the problem is even larger and more tragic.
To learn more about human trafficking and what you can do about it, please visit www.rescue.org and/or to help with the slave trade/prostitution involving children in the United States visit www.childrenofthenight.org
This line of discussion also brings to mind some thoughts on the legal age for marriage, which varies widely from state to state. If our society is to fully repudiate abuse of children, then we need to make our position unequivocal by putting and end to exceptions to the rules which separate children from adults when it comes to sex and marriage. A child of 13 or 14 is not at the point in his/her life where they can make informed decisions about having sex and getting married... period. Just because the child has the bad luck of being born to parents who think it is a good idea should not change matters. Alabama law (only chosen as an example, other states including "progressive" states are just as bad or worse):
With parental consent, parties can marry at age fourteen. However, this parental consent is not required if the minor has already been married.The lack of black and white lines on the issue of age of consent come into play when you consider the age of both parties. Is a 17 year old who marries or has relations with his 15 year old girlfriend in the same boat as a 30 something who has relations with a 15 year old? Of course not. However, a child of that age should have restrictions on decisions they can make which will affect the rest of their lives. The issue is complicated, but we need solid definitions to protect the under-age from predators, abusers and manipulators. Check in on your state and weigh in, more importantly make sure your children are aware of your position on the issue and develop relationships with them that will keep you in the loop as a trusted friend, guardian and mentor... and for crying out loud, keep track of where your children are and who they are hanging out with!