BY AMANDA KLOER
The incredibly sad case out of Texas today is a prime example of how the often separated issues of teen dating violence and human trafficking intersect. A 17-year-old boy was accused of trafficking his girlfriend into prostitution. Apparently, he beat her with a hammer so she would have sex with men for money. While this story is shocking, it is not uncommon. Teen abusers often end up forcing their victims into sexual or labor exploitation.
Teen dating violence is an issue which is finally being seriously discussed in the U.S. Chris Brown’s abuse of his pop star girlfriend Rhianna brought a lot of attention, even if much of the media hype was misinformation. Also, Vice President Biden has long been an active supporter of the domestic violence movement and an advocate for better policies around teen dating violence. Teen dating violence can encompass everything from stalking through text messages or phone calls, to physical, verbal or emotional abuse, to trafficking into forced labor or prostitution. Teens in abusive relationships are even more vulnerable to being trafficked, even if they are in relationships with other teens. Part of addressing human trafficking, especially among minors, will be addressing the power and control dynamics of domestic violence and teen dating violence which allow teen abusers to think they can treat a partner like that.
For more information, as well as cool gadgets and videos, check out http://www.thatsnotcool.com/, a website made for teens about healthy relationships and abuse.