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Sex Trafficking

Sex Trafficking in the United States

  • Sex trafficking is defined as “The commercial aspect of the sexual exploitation is critical to separating the crime of trafficking from sexual assault, molestation or rape. The term ‘commercial sex act’ is defined by the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act as the giving or receiving of anything of value (money, drugs, shelter, food, clothes, etc.) to any person in exchange for a sex act.” (Shared Hope International)

  • “Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) as defined by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, reauthorized in 2008, is “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act” where the person is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident under the age of  18.” (Florida Council Against Sexual Violence)

The Trafficker

    Types of Traffickers

  • Individual Traffickers (usually known as boyfriend pimps): These traffickers simulate and take on the role of “boyfriends” in order to deceive potential victims  into thinking that they love them. Traffickers will spend time with the victims, tell them they love them, and gain their trust in order to more easily lure them into the world of trafficking.

  • Trafficking Rings: Organized person(s) who has a group of victims that he or she sells for sex. This trafficker may post the girls services online or send them out to the streets.

  • Organized Crime Professionals: Soliciting their victims in a professional manner, such as in online ads in which a photo and number are posted soliciting the victim’s services.

  • Celebrities: Celebrities tend to glamourize the life of pimps in order to get people to accept it as an everyday thing. One famous rapper, in particular, was noted by the FBI to be a known trafficker within the celebrity world.

  • Classmates/Peers: Most peers who are attempting to bring in their classmates are often themselves victims of trafficking who are being forced by their traffickers  to bring in new victims. Otherwise, they may be punished, beaten or killed.  They are instructed to glamourize the life of trafficking and make it appear as if it is an everyday common thing.

  • Trafficker/Bottom “B” Girl Couple: The trafficker and his bottom girl work together to recruit new victims. The trafficker uses his bottom girl, or “favorite girl,” to lure in other victims. The job of the bottom girl is to make sex trafficking sound as appealing as possible and make it appear as if the life of trafficking is the life she always dreamed of.

  • Victim-Turned-Trafficker: The Victim turned Trafficker is usually a woman who once used to be victim herself but has now escaped and because the world of trafficking is the only thing she knows, she may start her own trafficking ring, in which she is no longer the bottom girl or victim, but now she herself is the Trafficker luring in girls.

    Types of Pimps (Roles that Traffickers adopt)

  • Boyfriend Pimp: offers love and affection to lure in their victim.

  • Gorilla Pimp: uses violence to scare his victims into trafficking.

  • Business Pimp: uses his victims to gain money by selling them.

    How much does a trafficker earn?

  • A trafficker typically earns over $200,000 per year selling one sex trafficking victim. Drugs can only be sold once, but victims can be sold over and over.  Victims represent hundreds of thousands of dollars for traffickers who "own" them, because traffickers have more than one victim working for them at any given time. Gangs are replacing drugs and weapon sales with human sales.

The Victim

A minor goes from being a target to a victim usually in as little as 30 days. Traffickers use deception, grooming, abduction, and coercion to lure their targets into becoming victims. A victim is a prostituted youth, often with the youth being driven by love, belonging and/or fear.

The highest probability victims are truants, runaways, abused or neglected children, and foster children. Often they aren't reported missing because they are runaways, throwaways, and abused children. There’s another reason children aren’t reported missing. Parents who are engaged in drug use often do not report their children missing because they don’t want the police coming to their homes and investigating.

The number of victims has increased exponentially in the United States, with approximately 20% of all Human Trafficking cases coming out of Texas.  The primary target for traffickers is American girls aged 12 to 14. However, this crime is not limited to girls only. At least 20% of underage victims of sex trafficking are boys. At least 95% of all the commercial sex engaged in by boys is provided to adult males.  Many of the adult male sexual exploiters of boys are married men with children. Boys are more likely than girls to leave home due to a feeling of being unwanted or misunderstood regarding their sexual orientation. Similar to girls, most boys exploited through sex trafficking come from dysfunctional homes and a large percentage have been victims of some kind of abuse in the past .

Victim Rescue Rate: Less than one half of 1%  

Below is a graph of who gets arrested when it comes to trafficking. From the information provided we can see that the victim has the largest number of arrests over both the john and the trafficker. Instead of helping the victim, the victims are being treated like common criminals while the johns and traffickers go free.

The average life expectancy for a child forced into sexual slavery is 7 years. For a child who gets abducted at the age of 12, by the time she reaches 19, she will already be dead or significantly traumatized by the abuse she endured. This is why it is so crucial to help every victim we can. Every arrest of a victim that takes place, and where a victim receives no services, is a missed opportunity to help rescue that child.   Because a victim’s life expectancy is so low, that one arrest could be the only opportunity for that child to be saved.

All abduction starts with deception and moves into the grooming process.  A predator selects his or her victims by selecting the ones who are most vulnerable. There are two methods of abduction: in-person and online. Another way to distinguish between the two is to know that in-person predators are known as L.I.A.R.S and online predators are known as P.O.S.E.R.S. The grooming process is what allows the trafficker or predator to establish the relationship of trust. Once a trafficker has employed all of his or her grooming techniques, the move is made to complete the “abduction process.”

How long does it take for a child to go missing?

  • A Child disappears at a rate of about 1 mile a minute (car going 60 mph).

  • In 2 hours, the SEARCH AREA is of a 240 mile circle.

  • Anytime a child leaves WITHOUT saying WHO they will be with, WHERE they are going and WHEN they will return, it makes it almost impossible to be FOUND.

  • In 2 days, your SEARCH AREA is the entire U.S.

  • At that point - that child is a HIDDEN, MOVING Target.

  • We want our youth to become  difficult targets, not hidden, moving targets!

  • Traffickers are looking for the "easy" ones.

  • If our youth are difficult, they'll pass on them!