Sex trafficking, especially of children, is a diabolical scourge that still affects the modern world, but the depth and scope of this evil are worse than you probably imagine, South African filmmaker and anti-trafficking activist Jaco Booyens told LevinTV host Mark Levin on Sunday night's episode of Life, Liberty & Levin on Fox News.
Booyens recalled how his sister became a victim of sex trafficking when they were growing up in South Africa, which made the issue very personal for him. "I didn't jump on a bandwagon by reading a book or a movement that I felt led to," the filmmaker explained. "It was dire."
Booyens' sister — now Ilonka Deaton — was trafficked through corporate South Africa over the course of six years, he explained. He added that while his sister eventually came home, "It was a long, very painful journey that seldom has that outcome."
"What is the typical outcome?" Levin asked.
"Death. The average lifespan of a child that's trafficked is seven years. Because with it comes addiction, physical abuse, emotional abuse; suicide rate is through the ceiling, because how do you get out?" Booyens explained.
Shockingly, the United States leads the world with the lowest average age of trafficking victims: 12, Booyens says. He also says notes that an child trafficking victim in the United States will bring a pimp $200,000 to $250,000 per year tax-free: "Now you have a real problem — a real problem. Because now, like I say, the demons come out. Because there's so many takers."
And those takers come from all walks of life. While Booyens said that he's glad that the high-profile arrest of billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein put attention on the issue of sex trafficking, he has a big problem with the what he sees as a widespread assumption that supporting the sex slave market is only a problem among the ultra-wealthy.
"Are the wealthy involved in this? Yes," Booyens says. "So is the middle class, so is the lower class."
The episode was recorded prior to reports of Epstein's death in federal custody over the weekend.
"This thing is so sick, Mark, you could almost order a child as you order pizza — you like cheese, I like pepperoni, etc., etc.," Booyens concluded. "The audience may be shocked, but this is a fact."
Booyens' 2014 film, 8 Days, was inspired by real-life events and tells those stories through the narrative of a teenage girl who is forced into the sex trade and eventually returns home.
"Friends of mine in town, in L.A., literally said, 'You're out of your mind. Make a documentary, just have a talking head, throw out statistics. Don't re-enact some of these things,'" the filmmaker said of the project back in 2014. "I said, 'We have to. We have to give the crime a face."