Alexis Martin`s Story Reveals the Factors Fueling Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking in the U.S.
How the Story of Sex Trafficking Survivor, Alexis Martin Reveals the Factors Contributing to Continued Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking in the U.S.
The proliferation of human trafficking and domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) in the United States has largely thrived on the vulnerability of victims and the inability of the law to adequately protect victims. The shocking story of Alexis Martins, a child sex trafficking survivor — who was incarcerated for 7 years — throws some light on the factors contributing to the unabated growth of sex trafficking of children in America.
According to a report by Cincinnati.com, Alexis was arrested at 15 and finally imprisoned in 2015 at age 17 on grounds that she was involved in the killing of her pimp, one Mr. Angelo Kerney, who abducted and trafficked her for sex abd exotic dancing. During her early and teenage years, Alexis was abused and raped repeatedly, and even got pregnant at one time. Series of events led to her being abducted and trafficked for commercial sex activities until the incident with her pimp occurred.
Alexis Martins was released in April 2020, thanks to campaigns and protests from many social workers and the influence of Kim Kardashian West who visited Martin in prison and featured the young lady in a documentary, "Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project". Experts argue that the state of Ohio mishandled the case, which perhaps was partly why Governor Mike DeWine approved Alexis' release. See the full report by the Washington Post on the case.
Insights from Alexis' Story
Here, we take a close look at how the ordeal of Alexis Martins reveals the factors that fuel child sex trafficking in the U.S.
1. Traffickers Target the Vulnerable
Perpetrators of human trafficking have prime targets; they go for the homeless, the abused, people who have no better alternatives, defenseless children and teenagers, and the underprivileged.
Like Alexis, reports indicate that many teenagers who have and are currently going through the horrendous ordeal of sex trafficking were either deceived or forced into child prostitution, mainly because they were initially vulnerable to the tactics of traffickers. Interestingly, the majority of women in prostitution today began as minors.
This means that as long as these groups of people remain in the society and continue to go uncared for, the day when domestic minor sex trafficking will stop to exit is still far.
2. It's a Low-Risk, High-Profit Business
Unlike several other businesses, human trafficking is unique because the capital investment is abducted human beings — literally costing nothing — and the gain is huge, especially when the teenagers are sex trafficked.
Alexis desperately wanted to escape, and to her, the best way out is a staged robbery, which became her undoing — even though she didn't pull the trigger. Child sex trafficking continues to thrive because traffickers use force, threats, drugs, and all sorts of violent means to keep their victims. Additionally, the demand for child sex workers is roof-high, a factor that fuels increasing supply.
3. A Troubled Upbringing
Alexis had a terrific childhood, where her father physically abused her, her mother was incarcerated for pushing drugs, and she was raped repeatedly. Thankfully, she is a survivor today, facing the rest of her life with renewed hope, but not many are this lucky.
Unfortunately, this profile typically describes a lot of children and teenagers who fall into the traps of child sex traffickers. Some of these children run either away from the torture at home or give in to the persuasion of traffickers disguised as helpers, only to realize later that they've been deceived and there doesn't seem to be a way out.
4. The Law is Weak in Defending Victims
Miss Alexis was a child sex trafficking survivor — a fact which was clear to the prosecutor — yet, at 17, she was sentenced to serve a minimum of 21 years in prison. While the focus was on the death of her trafficker and her alleged involvement in the matter, little to no attention was obviously paid to the damage that has been to her while under the custody of Mr. Kerney.
Although her charges were based on evidence that she helped to plot the robbery (which went south), her Attorney, Sasha Naiman believes that Alexis ought not to have been caged at all. “She should have received services. She was a baby. She was 15 years old, and every single day that Alexis is incarcerated is a mistake.” said Attorney Naiman.
An understanding of the risk factors for domestic minor sex trafficking or child sex trafficking creates an insightful backdrop for us to combat this modern-day slavery. Luckily there are different ways you can contribute to the fight sex trafficking on the streets of America.
About the Mission Haven
The Mission Haven is committed to providing a comprehensive and transformational Haven of Healing to victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.
Our goal at The Mission Haven is to provide them with those. With your generous donations and support, we can continue to provide a truly safe haven of hope and healing equipped with essential resources to lift victims and survivors of domestic minor sex trafficking. To give, volunteer, or become a partner, feel free to contact us today.