Author John DiGirolamo’s book ‘It’s Not About the Sex’ explores the troubling and often misunderstood world of human trafficking

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If you’re a fan of action movies or actor Liam Neeson, chances are you’ve seen the “Taken” movies and remember, or even recite, the famous lines Neeson tells the kidnappers. of his daughter :

“If you’re looking for a ransom, I can tell you that I don’t have any money, but what I do have are very special skills. Skills that I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, it will be over. I won’t look for you, I won’t chase you, but if you don’t, I will look for you, find you and kill you.

The above passage is often seen in memes and quotes on the internet. It is revamped by fans and is the inspiration for the film franchise.

While we can all feel the power, anger and determination of Neeson’s character as he delivers these lines in his deep, gravelly voice, when it comes to the subject of human trafficking, the film falls far short of the reality of the crime.

It’s the truth behind the dull dark curtain of human trafficking that author John DiGirolamo brings to light in his new book, “It’s Not About Sex.”

“It’s Not About Sex” is author John DiGirolamo’s second book. (Photo courtesy of John DiGirolamo)

“Before writing this book, I was aware of human trafficking, thinking that it only happened at the border of our country or in the big cities,” DiGirolamo explained. “Unfortunately, human trafficking is rampant throughout this country and around the world. I decided to tell stories that happened mostly in rural and suburban America because a lot of people are surprised to find that it exists in idyllic small towns and what are considered communities.” pleasant” as well as in large cities. »

Some of the topics DiGirolamo covers in his book include:

  • How Predators Approach Teens Online
  • Advice for parents on how to protect their children
  • Misperceptions and Reality of Human Trafficking
  • How someone can be caught in human trafficking
  • What to do if you suspect trafficking behavior or activity in your neighborhood

“I wrote this book for people who were like me a year and a half ago, who knew a little bit about the problem, were certainly not experts, but were sort of ordinary citizens,” explained the ‘author. “I think most people would say ‘yes, I heard about what’s going on in Thailand or at the border.’ But what I wanted to focus on were the small towns, the beautiful rural and suburban communities that look like everyday America.

“It happens in all these beautiful communities.”

During his research, DiGirolamo uncovered some shocking and disturbing statistics and facts.

Fifty-seven percent of victims of human trafficking are under the age of 18, the average age of girls involved in human trafficking is between 12 and 14 years old, while boys are between 11 and 13 years old . The life expectancy of a victim of human trafficking is only seven years. .

On average, a victim can bring over $300,000 in revenue to their trafficker, DiGirolamo writes. Victims are often raped 15 to 20 times a day.

“The majority of runaways, homeless, abused and at-risk children are approached by pimps and drug dealers within 48 hours of landing on the street,” DiGirolamo said. “That equates to one in three children attracted to sex trafficking.”

Other human trafficking facts that DiGirolamo uncovers in his book include:

  • 300,000 children every year are at risk of some form of sexual exploitation
  • Boys are considered 40-45% of exploited victims
  • 60% of children exploited in prostitution are recruited by peers
  • Children sexually abused earlier in childhood are four times more likely to be targeted and victims of commercial sexual exploitation
  • Only 5% of trafficked people are kidnapped

“He’s not a guy who targets strangers all the time. It can be through family, friends, peers, people you have a relationship with online and some of those victims, especially minors, may still be living at home,” DiGirolamo said. “There are clearly the groups at risk, but several of the stories I put in this book are about girls living at home, going to high school and being recruited by an older boyfriend or befriending another woman.”

Along with information on statistics and facts about human trafficking, DiGirolamo puts the book at the forefront of reality through the true stories of sex trafficking victims, advocates and law enforcement officials. law enforcement.

“The stories aren’t salacious or graphic, but they accurately portray the horrors of human trafficking. They are based on individual testimonials and are not sensationalized to look like a Hollywood production,” DiGirolamo said. “I really worked in collaboration with each of the people. I would send them something and say “here’s what I have”. Does it capture you correctly? and they would give me feedback and I would make edits and edits. Although all the information is true, the book reads like a fast-paced fiction novel.

“It’s Not About the Badge,” by John DiGirolamo, portrays the lives and careers of six small-town police officers with extraordinary stories. (Photo courtesy of John DiGirolamo)

Victims and survivors Angela and Jessica describe their experience in the dark underworld of human trafficking, while Jenelle, an advocate for minors who have been sexually exploited, talks about turning victims into survivors. Ronald, a federal law enforcement agent, details his experiences with human trafficking through stories from various files and criminals.

“This book lifts the curtain on sex trafficking, sex addiction and abuse in America…a world around us, but often invisible,” said Buena Vista Police Chief Dean Morgan. “Through these testimonies there are also stories of triumph, faith and redemption.”

DiGirolamo is a retired CPA who currently lives in Chaffee County.

He published his first book, It’s Not About the Badge, in 2021. The book tells the extraordinary stories of six small-town police officers. DiGirolamo dives into the officers’ personal lives, detailing what inspired them to pursue a career in law enforcement, their backgrounds, as well as their experiences as a law enforcement officer.

In addition to “It’s Not About the Badge” and “It’s Not About the Sex,” DiGirolamo is a columnist for the Sangre De Cristo Sentinel and the Winter Park Times. He also published a collection of short stories called “#12 Suicide”.

“It’s Not About Sex” can be purchased in paperback for $19.95, in hardcover for $29.95, and as a Kindle e-book for $4.95 from online retailer Amazon.

To learn more about John DiGirolamo, his books and upcoming appearances, visit www.itisnotabout.com.

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