Recently my Pastor said he was asked what he would characterize as the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time. He said he thought about that for a little while, and then replied, “the refugee crisis.”
That was a good answer. The United Nations reports that there are more than 65 million refugees worldwide, displaced because of war, political persecution, natural disaster, crime, disease, poverty or other causes. Sixty-five million is a huge number of people forced from their homes. That’s enormous suffering.
But if I had been asked that question, I would have had a different answer. I would have named the persistent global pandemic of child sexual abuse, hands down, as the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time. I don’t know of anything that is even close.
The CDC reports that in the United States, alone, there are 60 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse. One in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused in the US prior to their 18th birthday. Most of these victims never tell anyone about it.
In other countries the problem is much worse. If we project to other countries the same rates of abuse as in the U.S., the worldwide total is at least 1.5 billion adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. One and a half billion! And that is an underestimate. Imagine all of the silent suffering. Child sexual abuse is a staggering problem everywhere.
What most people don’t realize is that somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of those who are sexually trafficked were first sexually abused, and most likely became victims of commercial sexual exploitation because of the abuse. This applies to both girls and boys. Even less well known are the results of a recent study by John Jay College which documented that there are as many teen male sex workers as there are teen female workers. Just because we almost never hear about the boys doesn’t mean the impact on them is any less.
In addition to sex trafficking, child sexual abuse is one of the causal links to drug and alcohol abuse, severe depression, suicide, sexual promiscuity, sex and porn addiction, obesity, and many more of our social ills. Worst of all, at least 6% of sexually abused children will become sexual predators themselves.
Child sexual abuse is not merely a crisis; it is a global catastrophe.
Despite what you might have heard, this problem is getting worse. The Truth Alliance Foundation, an organization I founded, has developed a program to dramatically reduce child sexual abuse and to prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of children. I encourage everyone to generously support TAF in its efforts to reduce child sexual abuse, and thus reduce all the other social ills that are inextricably tied to it.
I first encountered the nature and scope of the problem of child sexual abuse as a young investigator for an agency that was commonly known as the Illinois Crime Investigating Commission. Or Crime Commission, for short. The official name of the agency was The Illinois Legislative Investigating Commission and our standing mandate was to investigate Organized Crime and official misconduct.
In the mid-70s concern was focused, nationwide, on the shocking revelation that young teen girls were being sold for sex on the streets of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and metropolitan areas all over the country. It was called the Minnesota Connection. The claim was the young girls were being snatched, practically out of their mother’s arms and turned into prostitutes in faraway cities. Organized crime allegedly was behind it.
Because of the alleged Organize Crime involvement, our agency was given the task of investigating the problem in Illinois. That investigation became the most extensive investigation into the issue of sexual exploitation of children and child abuse ever done by a law enforcement agency. I wound up directing the investigation and was forever changed by it.
We issued three reports and during the course of the investigation we profoundly changed the understanding of the nature and scope of the problem, the way such cases were investigated, the tools available to catch the predators, our understanding of the predators themselves. During the 1970’s we:
- drafted the first child pornography statute in Illinois which became a major tool to catch and convict child sexual predators,
- first documented that there were at least as many teen boys who were being commercially exploited for sex as there were girls, if not more,
- developed the concept of, and help draft the legislation to create, what became known as the child advocacy centers in order to minimize the trauma of child victims,
- and we developed a proactive model, a sting, for law enforcement agencies to build criminal cases against child sexual predators in order to get them off the street without the need of a child testifying—a model that has since been adopted by law enforcement agencies all over the world.
Sadly, this approach has failed to have the kind of impact we envisioned 40 years ago. We thought that if we locked up enough child sexual predators, the overall problem would begin to decline. It has not. Despite the tens of thousands being prosecuted and convicted annually, children are being sexually abused at ever increasing rates.
Looking back, it is disappointing that we didn’t see the problem more clearly. We now know that the problem is so large that a law enforcement approach, alone, will not work. Instead, we now know that a better way to protect children is not to rely solely on law enforcement but to equip adults to keep the predators away from our children. To do that, we all need to know how to tell the difference between protective and predatory people, between good guys and bad guys.
But how do you do that? It’s really not that difficult if you know what to look for.
Background investigations have limited utility. The truth is that the vast majority of child sexual predators never get caught. Less than two percent are ever convicted. Because of this fact, conducting criminal checks and checks of the sex offender registry are largely ineffective since more than 98% of the predators sail right through any such screening undetected.
Generally speaking, most people these days decide who are good guys and who are bad guys based almost solely on whether or not they like them. The good guys are the people we like and the bad guys are the people we don’t. The problem is that some of the worse people ever have been extraordinarily appealing. Bad people often are very skilled at being likable, appearing to do good things, being charming, seeming to be self-sacrificing, appearing humble and caring and kind and humorous.
This is where The Truth Alliance Foundation needs your help. The Truth Alliance Foundation has developed a method of screening out the 98% of predators who have never been caught. And we need to get the word out. In addition to training organizations how to spot predators and keep them out, TAF also is engaged in the following major projects. The TAF:
- is spearheading the development of a model coalition to combat child sexual abuse and human trafficking in our local area. The coalition will include local churches, NGO’s, social service agencies, selected businesses, counselors, therapists, and law enforcement. The purpose of the coalition is to gain a clear understanding of abuse and trafficking in the local area and will promote a response to the problem tailored to our findings, the local conditions and resources. This model will be made available for others to implement in their local areas, adaptable to their local conditions and will be spread throughout our extensive network of contacts, including through a recent contact we’ve made at the United Nations. (It should be noted that virtually all other coalitions are purely information oriented, while the TAF’s is going to attack these problems hands on. It establishes an action group. And through such local, coordinated efforts we will finally begin to show progress in reducing the problem of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and human trafficking.)
- is engaged in extensive research into (a) known predators, such as Jerry Sandusky, Jeffrey Epstein, Jimmy Savile, Cyril Smith, and many others in order to gain better insight into their methods and associations; (b) the so called “sex positive” movement and the people and organizations that are actively engaged in promoting early childhood sexualization, claiming that children have a right to decide when and with whom to have sex regardless of their age, or the age or sex of their chosen partner; (c) the entire sex education industry and its connection to special interests.
- And is developing a series of video trainings for identifying predators, keeping kids safe online, and on the general nature and scope of child sexual abuse and what the average person can do about it.
All of these major initiatives require funding to properly carry out. At this point the TAF needs to develop continuing financing to fund their expanded operation. The TAF’s goal is to is to enlist a thousand new regular monthly supporters. Whether it’s $25 or $1,000 a month, your donation will contribute to substantially reducing these problems. This year the TAF will establish a model demonstration project that can be duplicated and implemented by others anywhere in the world. To do this successfully, your continuing financial support is required.
I am personally asking for your generous and continuing support. Start the New Year off right by choosing to support the Truth Alliance Foundation. Your donation will help to save a child and perhaps to save our future.
Thomas R. Hampson
Truth Alliance Foundation
Donate via our website or send your donations to:
Truth Alliance Foundation
869 E. Schaumburg Road, #139
Schaumburg, IL 60194
The Truth Alliance Foundation is an IRS approved public charity under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. As such, contributions are tax deductible under section 170 of the code.