BACKGROUND

THE ISSUE

Child sexual abuse and sex trafficking occur on both U.S. soil and abroad.

From 2009-2013, Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies substantiated, or found strong evidence to indicate that, 63,000 children a year were victims of sexual abuse. This means that every 8 minutes, CPS has strong evidence to believe that a child has been sexually abused.

And that’s only in America.

 

Internationally, it remains difficult to obtain exact statistics regarding child sexual abuse, as many cases of abuse are hidden or under-reported. However, a study conducted by UNICEF in 2014 estimated that about 1 in every 10 girls under the age of 20 have experienced sexual abuse. 

 

These 120 million young girls could fill the seats of over 10 of the largest U.S. stadiums in the National Football League.

 

And that number is likely growing. Human trafficking, including commercial sex trafficking, has become a transnational industry generating approximately $10 billion per year. 

 

Sex trafficking is defined as the act of using force, fraud, or coercion to compel adults and children to participate in commercial sex behavior against their will. United States federal law classifies any minor who has been induced into commercial sex as a victim of sex trafficking.

 

This form of modern slavery occurs on U.S. soil and abroad. The FBI believes human trafficking is the third-largest criminal activity in the world.

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THE IMPACT

Child sexual abuse and sex trafficking are pressing human rights issues.

These issues seriously affect both victims and communities. In an attempt to hide the pain of abuse, victims may experience many short-term and long-term affects, including: 

  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety.

  • Depression and thoughts of suicide.

  • Sexual anxiety and disorders, including promiscuity or engaging in unsafe sex. 

  • Difficulty setting boundaries with others and having healthy relationships.

  • Poor body image and low self-esteem.

  • Unhealthy behaviors, such as alcohol, drugs, self-harm, or eating problems.

 

Communities are affected both socially and financially, as child sexual abuse results in healthcare, criminal justice, and child welfare expenses for taxpayers, as well as social costs related to substance abuse and teen pregnancy.

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HEALING THROUGH DANCE

Mind-body practices

can help survivors heal.

In addition to psychological treatment, survivors may benefit from holistic approaches to health and healing by incorporating mind-body activities, including dance, yoga, and meditation.

Mind-body practices may help reduce anxiety, depression, and anger, while simultaneously increasing self-esteem, positive coping, and relaxation.  

 

Dance, in particular, may help improve body awareness, assist in the development of coordination, and strengthen a survivor’s sense of ownership over their body.

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United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. Child Maltreatment Survey, 2013 (2014). https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/cm2013.pdf 

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UNICEF. Child protection from violence, exploitation and abuse. https://www.unicef.org/protection/57929_58006.html?p=printme 

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Polaris Project. Sex Trafficking. https://polarisproject.org/sex-trafficking 

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FBI. Human Trafficking/Involuntary Servitude. https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/civil-rights/human-trafficking 

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Department of Veteran Affairs. PTSD: National Center for PTSD. Child Sexual Abuse. http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/types/violence/child-sexual-abuse.asp

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 Journal of Investigative Medicine. 2013 Jun;61(5):827-34. Mind-body practices for posttraumatic stress disorder. doi: 10.2310/JIM.0b013e3182906862. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23609463 

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