His Older Brother Sold Him


It is not a secret that migrant children, whether they live in the United States or Somalia, whether they are undocumented or not, such children, especially if they live in migrant camps, have the highest rates of sexual exploitation in the world. Every migrant child is at risk for rape.

In a global economy, it doesn’t really matter what country a child is from. If children are working in the fields, in an effort to feed the family, everyone works. Often, children are expected to do the work of adults.

Children are particularly at-risk for sexual abuse because they can’t fight back. They can only endure and hopefully survive.

Ernesto was sold by the hour. His pimp was his older brother. Everyone knew.

Today, Ernesto is safe. He has a lot to say. He says most of it in the art he makes.

Are you going to sell me.

No. I don’t sell boys.

Are you going to fuck me.

No. I don’t fuck boys.

Are you going to hurt me.

I will never hurt you.

(Long pause.)


I get out the art supplies. The paper and the crayons. Ernesto gets to work.

There are men from the migrant camps in town want to know where Ernesto is.

Those men will never know where Ernesto is. It will not happen. Those men would shut him up. The intensity of the nightmares seem to be growing less and less intense. But they may never completely disappear. Ernesto sleeps in his clothes if he can. You never know when you might have to flee. He is well acquainted with the dead, vast, and middle of the night.

Ernesto arrived with anal gonorrhea. He smelled like a basketful of dead fish. The issue is not morality. The issue is one of human rights. 

If I stink, they don’t want me,” he says.

How many institutions for children are going to tell you about the anal gonorrhea. None. Usually, the pictures that is painted is a brighter rosey portrait.

People want hope. People do not want to see or be exposed to an environment that is without hope. But that is exactly what kids like Ernesto ARE. You can see it in their eyes. It’s like a dead zone, the eyes. It is possible to bring a child like Ernesto back into a more caring world. What is alarming is just exactly how many Ernestos are out there.

More than we ever knew.

We don’t talk about a reality that exists where children are lucky to endure and the goal is always the same, survival.

Ernesto does not discuss the past too much. He is too busy trying to leave it where it belongs which is in the past. He doesn’t always know what to say.

But he will draw it if someone is there to listen and to see.

More and more child survivors are beginning to tell their story. An international emphasis is coming to light with groups like ECPAT — End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking — sponsoring events that focus on child sexual exploitation. From the eyes of the kids themselves. Stories that are becoming harder and harder to ignore.

Know Your Rights: Specific Rights for Under 18 year old victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. 


Sexually exploited pediatric and adolescent males are at risk for being infected with gonorrhea when untreated perpetrators do not use a condom for oral or anal sex acts.

Rapid diagnosis and effective antimicrobial therapy help prevent complications. Adolescents should be treated with 250 milligrams of ceftriaxone intramuscularly and 1 gram of oral azithromycin. 

On July 15 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the results of the  Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project (GISP), which showed that gonorrhea is becoming more resistant to antibiotics. Development of resistance to tetracycline, penicillin and ciprofloxacin as well as removal of cefixime as part of first-line therapy in 2012 have mandated regular changes to treatment recommendations.

Antibiotic treatment options for gonorrhea are limited. By using combination ceftriaxone and azithromycin therapy, it may be possible to halt the further spread of resistant gonorrhea. It also is important to use azithromycin judiciously for other illnesses to prevent unnecessary antibiotic pressure on N. gonorrhoeae or other susceptible bacteria.

CDC surveillance shows gonorrhea becoming more resistant to antibiotics.




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