Our newest Overcome and Conquer podcast with Craig Sawyer touches on some really sensitive topics. Subjects that many of us don’t even want to think about happening to us. But that’s the thing, nobody is immune. It really can happen to any of us. But we’ll visit that part of the story later.
Nobody reading this is going to argue that human trafficking is one of the worst things that someone can do. Especially to another person. Not to mention, a child.
This week’s guest on the Overcome+Conquer Show, Craig Sawyer, is a former Marine, former Navy SEAL, and went on to serve with SEAL Team 6. Today, Sawyer works with his nonprofit organization known as Veterans for Child Rescue (V4CR). The group’s main focus is to bring awareness and help prevent domestic child sex trafficking.
Child-trafficking is an estimated $38 billion business here in the US. Yes, billion. It’s hard to think about. And as a parent, you don’t want to. The idea of that happening to our child is impossible to fathom. So, many of us don’t. We ignore it, thinking, “that’ll never happen to me”.
But it can.
We discuss the dangers of continuing that train of thought, and offer some tools, and practices to use to help reduce the risk. A risk that is much higher today than it has ever been. Especially now that we live in the digital age, with a lot of our kids having devices connected to the web.
Craig’s experience with this doesn’t end there, and an already emotional show between us 3 badasses gets even more so when Craig shares with us that his daughter was attacked and raped while walking home one night, at knifepoint. That changes everything.
One day, you’re sure every precaution has been taken. You’ve explained the dangers, and applied the tools necessary for safety. You may have even settled into the belief that ‘this is not going to happen to me’. I’m successful, we have everything we need and some luxuries, this kind of thing doesn’t happen to us.
But I assure you, it does.
When researching the numbers, I noticed that it is true, lower-income families are more prone to being victims of crime, including sexual assault, kidnapping (leading to human trafficking), robbery, and drug crimes. But that doesn’t give any immunity to those outside of the lower socioeconomic class.
Sexual assault, and rape, are crimes most likely committed by white males, between the ages of 18-37 (Wiseman, 2017). This report also stated that there were over 280,000 rapes reported in 2014, with 63% of the victims being white females between the ages of 16-30, 28% being African-American, with the rest being mixed between other qualified ethnic groups. The survey covered 42,000 homes, with everyone aged 12 and older reporting any incidents.
More than 20% of women today have experienced some type of sexual assault, usually forcible rape. While 40% reported they were victimized under the age of 18.
Another study mentioned in this report states that 2.8% of the reporting college students in 2000 experienced at least an attempted rape within that semester. A lot of those said they wouldn’t describe their experience as a crime, necessarily, which begs the question, how many more are happening that go unreported?
A study performed by the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) reported that 58,000 children were sexually abused in 2014. So this includes children that are being victimized.
But maybe the scariest statistic, and one some of us are completely unaware of, is that while being in a lower socioeconomic class makes you more likely to victimized by violence, being in a higher socioeconomic class doesn’t preclude you.
In 2018, a study using the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that violent crimes against those with a household income of less than $25,000 per year happened at a rate of 40.8 per 1000 persons. That’s scary. This reflects everything that happens in lower-income neighborhoods, including lack of access to proper healthcare, educational resources, proper diet, and the overwhelming need to better the circumstances by any means necessary. Some believe that crime is one of those means.
These qualifiers do not exist in upper-middle-class socioeconomic areas. What does exist is the fact that having those resources, and benefits doesn’t mean crime is nonexistent. Violent crimes happened at a rate of 16.7 per 1000 persons for those whose income was over $200,000 per year.
This isn’t exactly meant to scare you. But it is done with the hopes that if anyone believes that something cannot happen to you because of any given reason, please believe it can. Craig worked in the field of sex crimes against children. And without the perpetrator knowing that, his daughter became a victim.
It should be noted that she went through the reporting and prosecution fully, showing enormous strength throughout the entire process. An aspect that is apparent and felt deeply during the podcast. Craig shares his family’s experience in a way that touched both Ray and I, and I’m sure this will do the same for you.
Human trafficking is a terrible thing that unfortunately is something we deal with in this country on a daily basis. The fact that it is happening to our children for any reason is disturbing, but, Craig Sawyer, through his organization (link to the site found here), is doing amazing work to combat the problem. Bringing it to the surface, where crimes like these hopefully go to die. Help us make a difference in your community, head to the site to find out how.
Thanks for reading, and listening.
Click the link below to listen to the podcast with special guest Craig “Saw-Man” Sawyer: