Tuesday, May 25, 2010

USA: Child Prostitution in Portland, Oregon

PORTLAND, OREGON - Child prostitution has become a national problem in this country. Yes, I know that you have trouble believing that. You don't want to believe it, so you tend not to.

"Widespread sex trafficking in children?", you may be saying to yourself. "Sure, it happens overseas in places like Thailand and Moldova, and while there may be some of it here there's not that much of it in our country."

Based on a months long investigation and some reportorial digging, I'm here to tell you that you are wrong. We all are. We're in denial.

In covering news for more than 60 years, I'd like to think that few stories shock me anymore. But this is one of them. We ran across it late last year and the more we dug, the more disturbing it became.

Eighty-year-old men paying a premium to violate teenage girls, sometimes supplied by former drug gangs now into child sex trafficking big time? You've got to be kidding. Nope. That's happening and a lot more along the same lines.

The business is booming. One of the worst areas for it runs along lines running roughly from Seattle to Portland, to San Francisco and Los Angeles, to Las Vegas. But no place in the country is immune.

To pick just one example among many, Portland, Oregon is without doubt one of the nation's treasures. It has been voted one of the best places to live and work. But according to police, the city and its outlying communities has become a hub for the sexual exploitation of children. In a recent nationwide sting by Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, Portland ranked second in the country for the number of rescued child prostitutes. And according to Doug Justus, the workhorse sergeant in charge of Portland's tiny Vice Detail, many of the children caught up in this are middle class kids from the area...

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT HuffingtonPost.com

WATCH DAN RATHER'S VIDEO REPORT HERE.

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