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  Saturday, February 28, 2015
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Want to Go to a Party?
By Brianne R. Fitzgerald Rn, MPH

     Recently (12/12/05), The Boston Herald ran an article about adolescent girls and the sex trade.  Last week I met a 17-year-old-boy-Bill (not his real name) who denies ‘pimping girls out,’ but readily acknowledges that he gets paid to invite ‘hot’ girls to parties here in Boston.  Local and federal law enforcement agencies have been reporting since 2003 a rise in teen prostitution across the country.  According to the FBI, the average age of a new recruit is 13.  It is still true that the vast majority of teen prostitutes are runaways, illegal immigrants, and children from poor urban areas, but there is a growing number who come from the middle class.  The demographics are changing.  Word on the street is that white girls bring in more money and clients.  Many of the girls (according to DYS) have self esteem issues and have suffered some form of sexual abuse or neglect, but not all.  Girls from colleges like Boston College, Harvard, and Boston University have been known to work as ‘escorts’.  Check out the job openings on Craig list.  Open prostitution is illegal and dangerous in Massachusetts.

     Reports are that some girls engage in these dangerous liaisons for the thrill, the idea of clothes or gifts, or just to show off in front of less timid girl friends.  It is a myth to think that these girls are all runaways and drug addicts.  Drugs however do play a big part in this business.  When Bill was asked if he was worried if there were drugs and alcohol at the party that he was inviting 14 and 15 year old girls to he said, “No, once I ask them it is on them if they want to go.”  I asked if sex went on at these parties.  “Of course, why do you think I invite them”, he answered.

     Local malls, after school at teen hangouts, are magnets for young, good looking men to approach girls telling them that they are pretty, offering to buy them some food, pretending to like them by flirting and acting like a potential boyfriend.   Very often, lonely and the more socially awkward girls are targeted

     The Internet offers girls and boys opportunities to make money, lots of money for little more than talking about sex online.   Stripping before a web camera is yet another even more lucrative way to earn cash.  The kids say it is harmless.  They’re not having sex and it is fun.    As any compulsive behavior evolves, one needs to do more of the same to get the same rush or thrill.  Meeting someone you have met online is the next step.  50 Cent and Jay Z both have songs out glorifying pimping.  Pimps are predators and 17 year old Bill is being groomed to be a pimp, just as the girls he calls are being targeted for future sex work.

     Girls who are in early-to-mid teens (under 15) who find “love” with a young man older than they (18 and older)are at risk for future work in the sex trade.  The age differences at this time of adolescence should be a danger sign to parents. A pimp can take weeks to months softening up the girl; buying her presents, acting like a boyfriend, all seemingly out of love.  The girl may feel so indebted to the guy for buying her stuff that she agrees to do whatever he asks, “just this one time.” 

     Parents, you cannot be too nosey about your children’s lives.  Watch what they wear, whom they hang out with, how much time they spend on the Internet, and what they are listening to and watching on TV.  Listen to their songs for yourself and you will see what you are up against.  Once again, drag this article to the dinner table and see what they say after they read it.  Communications, options to help them make healthy choices, and support in times of need are tools to intercede with when problems arise.

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