Director of Media and PR
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DALLAS (November 18, 2010) – This coming Tuesday, HDNet will air an encore presentation of the Award-winning “Dan Rather Reports” investigation into the growing problem of underage sex trafficking, with a focus on a city you might not expect: Portland, Oregon.
The episode entitled “Pornland, OR” centers on the city of Portland, “The City of Roses,” where beneath its inviting veneer of manicured parks and eco-friendly living, the city has a dirty, dark secret – a burgeoning legal and illegal sex industry. And according to the Portland Police Bureau, Portland has become a hotbed for child sex trafficking.
A clip of the program can be found online.
This heartbreaking episode, recently featured on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” talks to those in Portland who are on the front lines in this battle.
“These are kids that are ten, 12, 13, 14 years-old. And– they get paid more because they’re young. And it’s– it’s mind boggling to me that some man would go have sex with a 14 year-old and pay two hundred dollars because she’s 14,” said Sergeant Doug Justus, of the Portland Police Bureau.
Sgt. Justus has been with the Portland Police for almost three decades. “If you had told me three years ago that a 14 year-old girl would go to a food court, meet a guy, and three hours later be selling herself I’d a said, ‘No friggin’ way.’ It happens every single day, every day.”
“He told me, ‘Well, if you love me you would– you would do a lot for me,” one young girl tells Dan Rather Reports of how her pimp got her started on having sex for money. “So, that’s kind of what convinced me, I guess. I wanted to show him how much I love him.”
Sgt. Justus says the profile of girls being sold for sex in Portland has also changed dramatically. In the past it has been primarily runaways, but more and more he’s seeing middle-class girls from Portland’s suburbs being forced into a sexual slavery. “What we’re seeing more and more nowadays, it’s the girl from Beaverton, from Tigard, from Estacada, from Vancouver, Washington,” said Sgt. Justus.
But it’s not just cities like Portland — child prostitution persists throughout the United States.
“There are at least 100,000 American kids a year who get caught up in this insidious activity, and there are estimates far more aggressive than that– typically 100,000 to 300,000 kids a year,” said Ernie Allen, co-founder and current CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “I had a police officer say to me once that the only way not to find this problem in any community is simply not to look for it.”
“Dan Rather Reports: Pornland, OR ” airs Tuesday, November 23 at 8:00 p.m. ET with an encore at 11:00 p.m. ET.
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