Sex trafficking needs spotlight

Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, S.D.: The use of task forces to fight methamphetamine and child pornography in South Dakota is being expanded to a war against sex traffickers.

U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson announced last week that state, federal and local resources will be used by the task force because the problem of using force, fraud and coercion to make money though prostitution has risen to that serious of a level in South Dakota.

It would seem like Johnson’s portrayal that sex trafficking is a growing problem here would be on target. More cases have come through the court systems identifying people who have targeted underage girls and advertised them for prostitution. With more cases, the police have heard from more victims.

Locally, authorities have gone after people paying for sex, too.

Johnson says victims in sex trafficking are often young and vulnerable based on a history of abuse, drug addiction, homelessness and other factors. Prostitution is offered as a way out but ends up trapping them in a lifestyle.

Certainly, prostitution isn’t a new crime nor is the work of johns who put the prostitutes on the street. But it’s time to stop the preying on victims, the abuse and the trapping of young females into a life of prostitution.

We have to do more than say, “Isn’t that sad,” or to somehow dismiss it because we think the victims did something wrong to get themselves involved in the crime.

That attitude as a society is as wrong as turning our backs completely on the victims.

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