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It is a world few Americans are aware of. But tens of thousands of American children are thought to be sexually exploited every year. It’s believed that every night hundreds are sold for sex. The FBI says child sex abuse is almost at an epidemic level, despite the agency rescuing 600 children last year. “Trafficking” often conjures images of people from other countries being smuggled over land and across the sea and then forced to work against their will in foreign lands. People are trafficked into America from Mexico, Central and South America. But the vast majority of children bought and sold for sex every night in the United States are American kids. We have heard from a number of women from the East coast to the Mid-west who have frighteningly similar and horrific stories. Neglected, abused, exploited and often ignored starting from a young age – sometimes even prosecuted by the very people who should have protected them. A handful of good souls, the kindness of a few strangers and the good work of some law enforcement agencies and the FBI offer some relief to America’s most vulnerable. But the stories we have heard suggest they are only scratching the surface of one of America’s best-kept and darkest secrets.

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