Jun 25, 2014 12:27 AM by Sean Mooney

Migrant children may be drawn to sex and drug trade

TUCSON - As several government agencies struggle to handle the flood of migrant children, who are in the United States Illegally, a bigger nightmare may soon follow for these children.

Some say these minors could become targets of the sex and drug trade here in the U.S.

Julianna Pucillo, with the Sex Worker's Outreach program, says the children are definitely in danger of getting involved in sex and drug trafficking, "You've got an additional burden if you come here and your not documented, so of course they are more vulnerable for many things, Pucillo said, "The thing that makes people vulnerable is poverty, it's not someone trying to get you in to sex work, or the drug trades, it's being poor."

Pucillo was a sex worker as a teenager and later in her life, raising children with few options. She says while it may be hard to understand, the lure of the sex trade for some of the migrant children may be hard to resist, "For somebody coming from extreme poverty, neglect or abuse, being free of that, living on your own terms, having to do a little bit of sex work here and there, that feels pretty great when your coming from difficult circumstances."

While Pucillo believes victims are drawn to the sex and drug trade out of need, Jerry Peyton, the Executive Director of Sold No More, a group committed to ending human trafficking in Tucson, is convinced there is a sinister purpose behind this latest flood of children, "I am absolutely sure this is and organized effort, it almost has to involve organized crime because they control our borders now."

Peyton also believes the new arrivals are perfect candidates for people who prey on children, "We have kids who don't know where they are, don't have any contacts anywhere, who are afraid of law enforcement", said Peyton, "They have got to be the most vulnerable group of kids we have ever seen."

According to the Department of Justice, an estimated 300,000 children are involved in prostitution in the United States, the average age 13-14 years old.

» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.

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