by Lisa Bates
Warning: this article contains details that may be very upsetting to some people. Possible Triggers.
I used to have trouble, wrapping my mind around the idea of parents selling their children to pedophiles. But, as I have learned more about it, I have to admit that it is one of the two main roads into child prostitution.1 The other one is when runaway children are approached and taken in by pimps, usually within 48 hours after leaving home.2
But, that is a story for another time.
This tale begins in Scotland. A set of three little boys, who were triplets, lived with their very poor family. The grandfather was approached by a seemingly nice man who offered a large sum of money to take the boys and raise them. It seemed like a perfect solution for the boys. But in fact, he ran a “puppy mill” (a place where young boys can be purchased for sex; it is named after the unethical practice of keeping dogs in cages simply to reproduce). At the time of the offer, the money seemed to be the only way that the family could survive; so the grandfather agreed to take it, and turned the boys over to the man who seemed to have come to their rescue. They were only 9 years old.
The boys became his possessions. They were required to do whatever the Alpha (their owner) and his customers desired, and it was mostly sexual. It was frequently necessary for them to perform together, and then with the men who became excited by watching them, but it was not only about the sex. Puppy mill boys are used as assassins, and drug smugglers, as well as for sexual gratification. They are objects, sold for anything the Alpha needs. In general, they are expendable and easily replaced.
However, many pedophiles consider it especially erotic to have experiences with twins or triplets, so these boys were very valuable to the Alpha. They were in demand. The boys were sold, and re-sold, they were shipped from Scotland to Ireland, and then sold again and shipped to England. Later, they were sold to an Organized Crime Syndicate, and imported to the United States. In all, they were shipped to 9 different locations.
During all of this upheaval, one of the triplets had a “problem” with running away. It was simply not tolerated. First, their Alpha drove a bolt between the tendon and the bone in his leg, and chained him to the wall. When that did not cure him, he was beaten to death in front of the other boys, as an example. They were 12 years old when they watched their brother die.
The two remaining boys were separated when they came to the USA. One of them was sent to a more “controlled” mill, a place that used a lot of beatings, because he was a “trouble pup.” The other twin was sent to private homes, because he was more docile and easy to control. They still had the desirability of twins; the Alpha only separated them because of the need to maintain absolute control. But, after the last place, which was controlled by the Mob, found out that they were twins, they were reunited to perform a live “erotic cinema” for paying customers, who would then join in. They were 17 years old, and living in a mill with 17 other boys.
Some of the boys had originally been sold to an Alpha, like the twins, but the majority were runaways or throwaways who were brought into the mills within 48 hours of leaving home. One fertile source for the Alphas is gay youth who are thrown out of their homes, just as they are discovering their own sexuality, in very early puberty. If the parents can not accept their children as lesbian, gay bisexual or transgender, they often simply throw the children out of the home so that they do not have to deal with them.1
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that the number of homeless and runaway youth ranges from 575,000 to 1.6 million per year. Between 20 percent and 40 percent of all homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Given that between 3 percent and 5 percent of the U.S. population identifies as lesbian, gay or bisexual, it is clear that LGBT youth experience homelessness at a disproportionate rate.2 When children are picked up, after being thrown away by their families, they find themselves in anything from a Mob controlled puppy mill, to a bar that has back rooms for rental of boys.3 They are considered “twinks” until they are about 22 or 23, when they lose the premium value of their stolen youth.
But, the twins were very, very, fortunate. They were only 19 when they came in contact with a loose network of about 45 ex-pups who still have access to the mills; and who work undercover to get some of the boys off the streets and away from the system. The twins were rescued, and taken in by the ex-prostitutes. The boys were then connected with lawyers, investigators, and the legal system. The puppy mill was investigated, and hopefully the Alpha and his cronies were prosecuted.
The ex-pup network does not stop there. They teach the boys skills and get them jobs, or even pay for higher education so they can become independent and healthy adults. The twins met a man who helped with their rescue, and who identifies himself as a “32 year old gender queer.” They came to trust this man, and told him their story. He was the source for this article. They told him many more horrifying details of their time as sex slaves, but there is no reason to go into all of that here.
The main reason why this man came forward with their story is to raise awareness that sexual traffickers do not only prey on young girls. He wanted to point out the statistics on the high numbers of lesbian, gay and transgender youth who are thrown out of their homes and are never missed,until they are picked up by traffickers. He also wanted to draw attention to the fact that the young men working in the sex trade, under the control of Alphas, are truly victims, even though they are being forced to break the law. When they are picked up in police “stings” and given criminal records for prostitution, they are only forced farther from regular society.4 They need a strong, understanding, support system to have a chance at a normal life. The loose organization of ex-pups provides that for them, but it is heartbreaking how many pups they simply can not reach to help.
It has been a year since the twins were rescued, and they are doing very well, One works full-time as a bartender, and is thinking about going to school. The other has sight and hearing issues; but he was given a seeing-eye dog. He is involved in the training for the dog, and has a place to live for the rest of his life with a dear friend.
Not all stories have a happy ending. “The Department of Justice estimates that more than 250,000 American youth are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation… and youth older than 12 are prime targets for sexual exploitation by organized crime units.” 1The number of children who are simply sold or are kicked out by their parents is unknown. This is an enormous problem in the United States and worldwide. To be able to achieve a normal life, these children, and the sex workers that they become, need to be literally rescued, deprogrammed, and supported, while they recover from this unspeakable abuse. Arresting them for prostitution is completely counter-productive, and public policy needs to reflect that understanding. Finally, resources need to be made available for concerned parties to rescue and rehabilitate these lost boys.
1 “Young people are recruited into prostitution through forced abduction, pressure from parents, or through deceptive agreements between parents and traffickers.” http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/march_2011/human_sex_trafficking
2“These children generally come from homes where they have been abused or from families who have abandoned them.”http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/march_2011/human_sex_trafficking
5 “Various organizational types exist in trafficking. Some perpetrators are involved with local street and motorcycle gangs, others are members of larger nationwide gangs and criminal organizations, and some have no affiliation with any one group or organization.” http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/march_2011/human_sex_trafficking
6[victims of sex trafficking] were arrested and thrown into jail, and that the police treated them like criminals, even when they knew they were minors. Often times, police officers solicited their services, the girls said, or they had relationships with pimps. “They would just send me to jail and keep me here for like a couple of months, then they’d release me thinking everything’s good,” M.S. said. “I was scared to run to the police or cops or something because you know… I don’t think they’d really listen. They try to set up a date with you knowing that you were a minor. They didn’t care.” http://abcnews.go.com/US/domestic-sex-trafficking-increasing-united-states/story?id=10557194