Lena was an athletic student from Eastern Europe yearning to visit the United States through a study-abroad program at her college. She had visions of learning English and returning home to share her experiences with her family.
But the human traffickers who ensnared her had a different vision for Lena, shipping her to America and exploiting her in the sex industry for profit. They met her at the airport with news that her study abroad placement had been changed. She was given new bus tickets and sent off to Detroit, Michigan. Once there they took her passport and her freedom.
Students Studying abroad can be at risk for human trafficking...who knew?
We’ve all heard about sex trafficking, but did you know that America is among the three highest countries for imported sex slaves and that they’re being brought in legally through the National Foreign Exchange Student Program?... If we think about it though, it becomes painfully obvious that it’s an easy way for sex criminals to mail in an order for a 16-year-old kid.
One of the most notorious hosts is Thomas Scott King. King is currently a well-known and valued member of a West Virginia association of pedophiles. He has also become a “high placer,” which is someone who finds a host home for up to 50 or more foreign exchange students each year. With each student worth an average of $15,000, exchange agencies are loathe to displease these “high placers.”
What makes me nauseous is that this isn’t a recent discovery. There have been complaints coming into the West Virginia State Board of Education for a number of years, but they have been largely ignored. The same convicted sex offenders have time and time again acted as hosts to underaged students from around the world.
One unnamed retired police officer from Oregon was quoted as saying, “A convicted rapist hosted an 18-year-old Japanese girl; she stayed in his home only a few days before the situation became known to authorities and [the] girl was removed, but not before the rapist began touching her inappropriately … a year later, this same rapist was accepted by a host organization to host a 16 year-old Thai girl.”
We would assume that the U.S. State Department, which is charged with watching over exchange student programs, would clearly want to put an end to the exploitation of such a valuable academic program.
The exchange programs should also clearly want to protect those students who participate. When this industry is making millions of dollars a year and the state department receives funds from them, however, officials tend to write off incidents as “contractual disputes.”
June 2015 "While the perception is that it is an international phenomena, a growing number of American women are being sucked into this horrendous sex slave trade every year. Here in Oklahoma, the body of a 19 year old girl was found dismembered behind a grocery store in 2012."
http://www.press-citizen.com/story/news/education/college/2017/07/10/when-study-abroad-ends-death-parents-find-few-answers/461359001/ Nobody knows how many US students die, are injured, assaulted or missing during their study abroad experiences. We do know that "university-sponsored programs in the last decade are part of a growing global youth travel industry estimated to be worth $183 billion a year."
“Coffee beans and bowling balls have more rules than any program, school, professor or teacher escorting our kids into foreign countries,” said Sheryl Hill, who has built a business called Depart Smart around providing safety advice to students going abroad.
...the exact number of student deaths overseas from the U.S. State Department, is not available. (much less the numbers of those kidnapped, drugged, injured or assaulted abroad)
March 2013 Human Trafficking: “Close to home”
The type of human trafficking spoken of by Ms. Frundt described a pimp who would prostitute young, under-aged girls. These girls are coerced and forced into sex slavery primarily between the ages of 12 and 15, averaging around the age of 13 with girls as young as 9.
The next bracket age for young women are the ages between 17 and 19, where many young girls are trafficked off of college campuses, specifically students who are away to school. The young, female students without an adequate home, no close family, far friends, and a long distance support system makes them an easy target for sex slavery.