(Spoiler alerts. If you have not watched the latest episode of Hawaii Five-0, you may not want to read this yet.)
Did you catch the latest episode of Hawaii Five-0? If you did, you know why we’re writing this blog post. Four days ago, this CBS hit show covered an intense, tough-to-broach subject, one which hits home for us here at StreetLightUSA: child sex trafficking. And they did it with accuracy to be applauded.
1) The importance of medical personnel. When a teenage girl is brought into the hospital, she’s with an older guy. He answers questions for her, explains away her broken ribs – the nurse can tell that something is off and calls in the authorities. She trusted her instincts and saved lives.
2) The importance of discussing and understanding what sex trafficking is. Two officers, after uncovering that this girl was being sex trafficked, have a great conversation in their car.
“I gon’t get it. It doesn’t make sense to me. [She] seems like a bright kid from a stable home.”
“…15, it’s a rough age for a girl. …You’re awkward and insecure. You don’t think you’re smart enough, pretty enough or popular enough. And then, suddenly someone pays some attention to you. Sends you a nice message or some compliments. Suddenly you feel like somebody gets you. Like they care. …He obviously understood that and used it to his advantage.”
3) Trafficked? But she’s local. We hear it all the time and were pleased that they said it in the show – the surprise that a child could be trafficked for sex in her own hometown. Trafficking is not limited to children taken from other countries. Child sex trafficking can happen to any child in any place from anywhere. They are trafficked overseas, across state lines, and even to people they know.
4) Who buys children for sex and why? The John (buyer) in this episode was well portrayed. Caucasian, upper middle class, teacher, with a wife and children in a nice home in the suburbs. This Average Joe, that you could pass every day walking around town, has a habit of making a phone call to get a “date” with a teenage girl. The cops asked him the question we all want to know: why.
“What compels a guy who has everything to make that call? “
The answer leaves us hanging because we know it’s not the whole truth: she said she likes it. That’s not the reason and we know it. There is no simple reason why men buy young girls for sex. I couldn’t help but hope that this guy, on this show today, was finally going to give us a true, easily fixable solution. But it’s simply not that simple.
5) Safe Haven. The rescued girls are taken to a safe place designed to help victims of child sex trafficking. The Hawaii Five-0 version of StreetLightUSA. These places are so critical in helping victims begin to reacclimate to life outside of sex trafficking; kudos to Hawaii Five-0 for addressing the fact that it’s not just a happy ending as soon as the police free a girl from her trafficker. They gave a very good explanation of why places like this are important.
“Is it possible to come back from something like this?”
“Yes, but it won’t be easy.”
Thank you @HawaiiFive0CBS for addressing a tough topic and increasing awareness of child sex trafficking!