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WHAT IS SEX TRAFFICKING?
Sex trafficking is when a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, coercion or when the person induced to perform the act is under 18 years old. A commercial sex act means any item of value is traded for any sexual services (prostitution, pornography, or sexual performance).
WHAT IS DOMESTIC MINOR SEX TRAFFICKING?
Domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) is the commercial sexual exploitation of American children within U.S. borders for monetary or other compensation (shelter, food, drugs, etc.). This is synonymous with child sex slavery, sex slavery, child sex trafficking, prostitution of children, and commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).
IS CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING HAPPENING IN THE UNITED STATES?
YES. Domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST), the commercial sexual exploitation of children through buying, selling, or trading of sexual services, is happening in the United States. Forms of DMST include prostitution, pornography, stripping and other sexual acts.
HOW BIG IS THE PROBLEM OF CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING IN AMERICA?
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that 100,000 American children are being exploited through pornography or prostitution every year.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HUMAN SMUGGLING AND TRAFFICKING?
Human smuggling is a crime against a country by transporting an item deemed illegal by the destination country into the country. Human trafficking is a crime against a person by using force, fraud or coercion to induce a commercial sex act or labor.
HOW OLD ARE THE CHILDREN EXPLOITED THROUGH SEX TRAFFICKING IN THE U.S.?
The age of trafficked children vary. The average age a child is first exploited through prostitution is 13 years old, though children as young as infants have been identified in pornography.
WHAT MAKES A CHILD VULNERABLE?
Age. Age is the primary factor of vulnerability. Pre-teen or adolescent girls are more susceptible to the calculated advances, deception, and manipulation tactics used by traffickers/pimps – no youth is exempt from falling prey to these tactics.
Traffickers target locations youth frequent such as schools, malls, parks, bus stops, shelters and group homes. Runaway, homeless or previously sexual abused youth also may have an increased risk of becoming vulnerable to traffickers.
WHAT ABOUT THE GIRLS WHO CHOOSE PROSTITUTION? ARE THEY VICTIMS?
Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) sex trafficking requires force, fraud or coercion unless the victim is a minor. Any minor used in a commercial sex act (the exchange of any item of value for a sex act) IS a victim of trafficking, regardless of their willingness or desire to engage in the sex act.
WHY DON'T VICTIMS ESCAPE WHEN THEY HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY?
Traffickers and pimps use physical, emotional and psychological abuse to coerce young women and girls into a life of sex trafficking. Traffickers are master manipulators and employ tactics to create a trauma bond between the victim and trafficker.
Traffickers often use the threat of violence against victim or a victim’s loved ones to secure their submission.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TRAFFICKER AND A PIMP?
Nothing. A pimp is another name for a trafficker. A pimp or trafficker are those who profit by receiving cash or other benefits in exchange for the sexual use of a minor by another person.
HOW DO TRAFFICKERS OR PIMPS RECRUIT VICTIMS?
Many pimps often use a “lover-boy” technique to recruit girls from middle and high schools. A lover-boy will present himself as a boyfriend and woo the girl with gifts, promises of fulfilled dreams, protection, adventure – whatever he perceives she is lacking. After securing her love and loyalty, he will force her into prostitution.
Traffickers actively target potential victims to recruit. This process can sometimes take weeks or months. They'll gain trust by exploiting weakness. For example:
If the girl has low self-esteem, they will tell her how beautiful she is.
If she is living in poverty they will promise her lots of money.
If she is homeless they will offer her a place to stay.
WHO BUYS SEX?
The buyers, or Johns, of sex from juveniles can be anyone – professionals, students, tourists, military personnel, a family member. They can be Hall of Fame football stars, business leaders and CEOs, or politicians.
Because buyers often pay in cash and may interact with a victim for as little as five minutes, buyers are increasingly difficult to identify. Many buyers dont know the victim is being controlled by a trafficker because they only interact with the victim.
HOW DOES PORNOGRAPHY AFFECT THE TRAFFICKING INDUSTRY?
1 out of every 5 pornographic images is of a child; and 55% of child pornography comes from the U.S. The sale of child pornography in the U.S. has become more than a $3 billion annual industry. In a study of 932 sex addicts, 90% of the men, and 77% of the women indicated that looking at pornography “played a significant role in their addiction”.
Viewing pornography essentially rewires the brain and drastically influences how dopamine and other chemicals are received and used in the brain.
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