April 22, 2019

Characteristics of Child Sex Trafficking

Defining Child Sex Trafficking

Child sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a child under 18 years of age for the purpose of a commercial sex act. The term “commercial sex act” means any sex act through which anything of value is given to, or received by, any person.

Source: https://ric-zai-inc.com/Publications/cops-p342-pub.pdf

Who are victims of child sex trafficking?

Victims of child sex trafficking can be children, both female and male, who have run away or are homeless, are abused or neglected, have unmet needs, are unsuspecting or naive, have disabilities or mental illness, or have vulnerabilities that can be exploited. Socio-economic status does not affect victimization. It is common for victims to have experienced a history of physical and sexual abuse.

How does child sex trafficking start?

Victims are typically enticed by traffickers through a process known as grooming. The process involves the trafficker meeting the victim’s needs by providing attention, affection,a sense of belonging, or recognition. The trafficker is able to fulfill a need, either real or perceived, that other people in the victim’s life may not be. As the trafficker’s emotional manipulation takes effect, the trafficker becomes increasingly more controlling of the victim. At times, the trafficker may go beyond emotional abuse and use threats or acts of violence to control their victims.

Who are child sex traffickers?

Traffickers are often known as pimps, daddies, boyfriends, or madams. No matter the label, child sex traffickers entice child victims to engage in sex acts for money. The trafficker financially benefits by receiving the monetary proceeds of the child’s exploitation.

Traffickers use a number of techniques known as “pimp control” to manipulate victims into doing exactly what the trafficker wants. These techniques may include violence, sexual assault, coercion, threats, dependency, isolation, or manipulation.

The trafficker’s main goal is to exploit victims for his or her own monetary gain.

Traffickers do not fit one specific social, ethnic, or racial profile. The child can already know them, including members of the child’s family. Traffickers are not only men but also women.

Where does child trafficking take place?

Where might traffickers recruit or exploit child victims?

  • Hotels or motels
  • Homes
  • Schools
  • Malls or other shopping centers
  • House parties
  • Internet and social media
  • Phone calls or text messages
  • Truck stops or highway rest areas
  • Streets or train tracks
  • Transport centers (e.g., bus stops, train stations, or airports)
  • Major events (e.g., Super Bowl or Final Four games)
  • Vehicles
  • Restaurants


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