Panel Hears Craigslist, Kid Prostitution Connection

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The sex trafficking of children is a growing problem in the U.S. and on Wednesday a congressional panel heard about the online sites that advertise and contribute to it.

At the House Judiciary Committee hearing, lawmakers heard how the Internet has greatly expanded child prostitution and child sex trafficking in America.

Linda Smith, founder and president of Shared Hope International, dicussed other solutions to combat the internet aspect of child trafficking, and how Americans can help the victims on the Thursday, Sept. 16 edition of CBN Newschannel's Morning program.

Click play to watch the interview.

Committee members listened to the recorded testimony of a sex trafficking victim.

"I just turned 13," the voice said. Most of the time like the last date was kind of a richer client. He offered me like $500 for a couple of hours and I said, 'OK.'"

Lawmakers slammed the website Craigslist -- arguing that the website and the Internet in general, contribute to the problem of domestic child prostitution.

"Today perpetrators hide behind their personal computers and have a child at the their doorstep with the click of a button," said Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif.

In late August, attorneys general in 17 states banded together to urge Craigslist to discontinue its adult services. That was good news for Linda Smith, founder of Shared Hope International, an outreach program that helps victims trapped by sex traffickers.

"I have not had a girl that was not marketed online and most of them were marketed through Craigslist," Smith said.

Earlier this month, the site announced it had stopped running adult services ads in the U.S.

Meanwhile, committee members discussed possible steps the government could take to combat the problem -- including better services for child victims.

Experts estimate that every year, a minimum number of 100,000 children in the U.S. are involved in sex trafficking activities. 

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Charlene  Aaron

Charlene Aaron

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Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter and helps anchor for the CBN News Channel.  Follow her on Twitter @CharNews and "like" her at Facebook.com/CharleneIsraelCBNNews.