It is estimated that 100,000 to 300,000 youth in America are forced into prostitution each year. They are sexually exploited for the benefit of others.
It is estimated that there are 50 beds in America to treat these victims.
Sex Trafficking in The U.S.
- Sex trafficking occurs when people are forced or coerced into the commercial sex trade against their will. Child sex trafficking includes any child involved in commercial sex. Sex traffickers frequently target vulnerable people with histories of abuse and then use violence, threats, lies, false promises, debt bondage, or other forms of control and manipulation keep victims involved in the sex industry. Sex trafficking exists within the broader commercial sex trade, often at much larger rates than most people realize or understand. Sex trafficking has been found in a wide variety of venues of the overall sex industry, including residential brothels, hostess clubs, online escort services, brothels disguised as massage parlors, strip clubs, and street prostitution.
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children
- The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) comprises sexual abuse and remuneration in money, goods, or services—or the promise of money, goods, or services to the child or a third person or persons for the sexual use of a child. The child treated as a commercial and sexual object. CSEC is violence against children. CSEC can occur through a variety of mediums including street prostitution, pornography, stripping, erotic/nude massage, escort services, phone sex lines, private parties, truck stops, gang-based prostitution, interfamilial pimping, and forms of internet based exploitation. What differentiate CSEC from other forms of sexual exploitation is an element of organization and/or intent, and/or the context of the commercial sex industry.
When does it become trafficking?
Sex trafficking occurs when the pimp or trafficker uses force, fraud, and/or coercion to maintain control over an individual and cause him or her to engage in commercial sex acts. When the individual providing commercial sex is under the age of 18, force, fraud, and coercion do not need to be present for the situation to be considered trafficking. Common means of control for this type of sex trafficking include:
- Force – Physical or sexual abuse, often in the form of repeated rapes by one or more people to create submission; confinement to a residence; restrictions on movement, and communication to family and friends.
- Fraud – False promises of a better life through the trafficker presenting as a boyfriend or caretaker figure; convincing the victim that law enforcement/service providers will only see the victim as a “prostitute” and will arrest and not assist the victim.
- Coercion – Threats of harm to the victim or victim’s family; threats to shame the victim by revealing the commercial sex to his or her family and others in the community; verbal, psychological and emotional abuse; nightly quotas; confiscation of birth certificates and other identification documents; forced dependency on the pimp or controller; exploitation of victims’ shame or low self-esteem; rumors of or witnessed violence at hands of traffickers; cycle of rewards and punishments; threats of deportation if victim is a foreign national.
- *The above list is not comprehensive or cumulative. One element of force, fraud or coercion may be present, or many.
Because human trafficking is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries, the U.S. government and academic researchers are currently working on an up-to-date estimate of the total number of trafficked persons in the United States annually. With 100,000 children estimated to be in the sex trade in the United States each year, it is clear that the total number of human trafficking victims in the U.S. reaches into the hundreds of thousands when estimates of both adults and minors and sex trafficking and labor trafficking are aggregated.