PORTLAND, Ore. – A new study to be released Monday is the first comprehensive look at how many children are being used as prostitutes in the Portland-Metro area.
U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall says the results of the study show that we are failing our kids.
“Child sex trafficking has been described as domestic violence on steroids,” Marshall said. “We know this is very dangerous. We need to act faster. We need to be the adults. We need to do our jobs in taking care of our kids.”
Marshall pushed for the study by Portland State University. The results show that the average age of a child prostitute is 15 in the Portland area.
Watch the news conference announcing the report live at 10 a.m. on KATU.com
They’re not all drug addicts or runaways, Marshall says. Some are simply the girl next door.
“It seems unfathomable, I think, to a lot of people that are hearing about this,” Marshall said. “(To think that) it could never happen to my daughter, that is really the false assumption that creates the space for this assumption to grow.
“There’s a survivor we’re aware of whose father was a police officer. So it can happen to anybody.”
The study looked at how many of the kids in the area sex-trade have addiction problems and how many are connected to gangs. The study also examined their ethnicities.
Marshall says no one is immune because this sickness has affected our entire region.
“Your next-door neighbor, your doctor, your lawyer, the coach of your kids’ softball team might be the “John” that’s caught tonight in the hotel room with the 14-year-old girl raping her, making child pornography,” said Marshall. “Is this the society we want to live in?”