Costumes that sexualize young girls and popularize the gangster life for boys should be avoided this Halloween because glamorizing such anti-social activities minimizes the pain and suffering of real victims.
That’s the concern of the Children of the Street Society that has been following some high-profile sexual exploitation court cases this year involving teen girls while it also offers prevention education for youth and intervention and support for victims.
“The past year, in particular, has really highlighted the impact that sexual exploitation and sexual assault can have on victims. Wearing Halloween costumes that stereotype or make light of these harmful forms of exploitation only contributes to the problem,” says Diane Sowden, executive director for Children of the Street Society.
Sexual exploitation and sex trafficking are crimes that annually devastate 300,00 children and youth in North America, according to the organization.
Allowing a young person to dress up as a “pimp” or “ho” glamorizes this crime while victims of sexual exploitation face challenges such as addiction, mental illness, homelessness, poor health and lifelong trauma from physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
The call for more creative costumes that reflect individuality come as a New York Times article reported that 75% of girls 10 to 19 years of age said they felt judged as a sexual object and unsafe as a girl.
The same amount of boys felt pressured to be physically strong.