WHEN IT COMES TO POVERTY IT IS ALWAYS THE VULNERABLE THAT SUFFER THE MOST, AND NO ONE IS MORE VULNERABLE THAN A DEFENSELESS CHILD.
To exploit a child for your own physical pleasure is reprehensible. It is conduct that cannot be allowed to go unpunished and yet it does. How can this be? How can we not be able to protect the innocent? Why do we turn away from the ugly truth that child prostitution not only exists but flourishes. Why can we not admit to ourselves that these children are being raped day after day? Why do feel so uncomfortable about examining this issue? Is it because, as adults, we all feel a certain level of guilt that this horrific abuse occurs and we do absolutely nothing to stop it?
Childhood is a time for learning. A young mind is eager to soak up information and knowledge. A child’s personality is in a constant state of growth. Even for children who are trapped in the deprivation of extreme poverty there is still the awakening of a human being finding itself in the world. Although a poor child may be denied many of the physical needs that go with a healthy young life they are no less curious or imaginative in their discovery of the world around them. They have the same need to be loved and accepted for who they are that any child has as they are growing up. The economic conditions may be different but the human need to belong is the same for children everywhere.
But when the sexual gratification of an adult intrudes on the innocence of childhood it is the child that suffers the humiliation, shame and the stigma that results from this illegal brutality. Gender of the victim does not matter. The resulting loss of self-esteem and the destruction of dignity are over whelming. The crushing loss of trust can remain with them for the rest of their lives. They will never become the person they could have been. No matter how well they are able to eventually cope with the psychological strain that results from the horror they endure at the hands of a grownup they will always have this part of their life to deal with. It can affect every aspect of their existence from that moment on. Although they may go on to lead lives filled with purpose and accomplishment it is a secret they will carry with them to their grave. The pain will be ever-present.
Why are small children in poverty exploited in such a cruel and inhuman way? Why is there so little value attached to their lives? Why do adults feel free to use and abuse them without any regard for the unimaginable damage they are doing to these young lives? The answer is MONEY. A child’s life is literally worth what ever someone is willing to pay for the opportunity to destroy it. When a young male or female, no matter what their age, is reduced to being a product that is bought and sold they are being stripped of their human rights and they are being taught that they are nothing more than expendable merchandise that can be discarded as soon as their usefulness as a sexual partner is over. It is adult behavior that is so selfish and barbaric that it is difficult to describe. The cruelty of selling an innocent child for sex is beyond redemption. The individuals who engage in this tragic activity should be removed from society at large and never be allowed to walk in our midst again. Ever.
But what about the victims? What do their futures hold after they have been abused? The physical results of such trauma are horrendous. Children are often beaten to within an inch of their lives to force them to perform the sex acts that their “customers” demand. The physical trauma of the beatings is severe and can leave crippling injuries. Abused children are often the victims of sexually transmitted diseases. After all, if you are more than willing to steal someone’s childhood why would you concern yourself with their safety by using a condom? Young girls are at risk of early pregnancies. Of course their value as sexual objects decreases if they are pregnant so they are often forced to have abortions so they can continue to work. However, perhaps the deadliest risk to these children is the possible exposure to HIV/AIDS. The tragedy of a small child becoming infected with HIV by an adult 40 years older than them is heartbreaking. For one brief period of sexual release a person can destroy a child’s life forever.
But as awful as the physical scars can be, it is the invisible mental and emotional wounds that are the most difficult to heal. A child who as been sexually assaulted by an adult is changed forever. It is that simple. There is no going back to before. There is no way of undoing what was done to your body. There is no way to undo the shock and the shame. There is no way to ever really trust again. There will always be a doubt about someone’s intentions no matter how close they become to you. The pain of sexual abuse strikes at the very core of a human being. It is a pain that is so intense it is incredibly difficult to share. To realize at such a young age that others consider you to be worthless crushes your sense of self. To try and understand why those who “demand” to touch you are actually hurting you is terrifying. The confusion, shame and guilt are over whelming. No child on earth should have to experience this even once, let alone over and over again.
For a child to be bought and sold for sex is nothing short of a perverse form of slavery. The child has no control over their own body. They have no type of physical freedom what so ever. They are denied the most basic of human rights. They are controlled, they are manipulated and they are abused. They are threatened, they are imprisoned and they are tortured. They are literally slaves and yet they are children. It defies logic why those of us who live in comfort with our own sons and daughters, whom we love and cherish, are willing to stand by and allow millions of other innocent boys and girls to be sexually assaulted and raped…The criminals that attack these children are able to do so in part because of our silence.
Just because a child has the misfortune to be born into poverty should not make him or her a target for abuse. Every child on earth no matter what their gender, race or economic status deserves to be safe and protected. No child, under any circumstances, should ever be subjected to any kind of inappropriate physical contact with an adult. If we as a free society are not willing to stand up to protect an innocent 6-year-old child from the sexual predators who will destroy their life than we are no better than the one who commits the crime. If we cannot gather the courage and the conviction to stand up against the sexual abuse of children around the world than what are we ever going to feel is worth fighting for?
THE SEXUAL ABUSE OF A CHILD MAY ONLY LAST A SHORT TIME, BUT THE TRAUMATIC EFFECTS CAN LAST A LIFETIME.