What is Child Sex Trafficking?
End Trafficking Campaign
Child victims of trafficking are recruited, transported, transferred, harbored or received for the purpose of exploitation. They may be forced to work in sweatshops, on construction sites or in houses as domestic servants; on the streets as child beggars, in wars as child soldiers, on farms, in traveling sales crews or in restaurants and hotels. Some are forced to work in brothels and strip clubs or for escort and massage services.
Putting a stop to all forms of child trafficking is critical to ANGELS IN THE FIELD work.
Child Trafficking in the U.S.
Trafficking is not just an issue that happens to people in other countries. The United States is a source and transit country, and is also considered one of the top destination points for victims of child trafficking and exploitation. Cases of human trafficking have been reported in all 50 U.S. States; anyone can be trafficked regardless of race, class, education, gender, age, or citizenship when forcefully coerced or enticed by false promises.
The End Trafficking Project
The End Trafficking project is the ANGELS IN THE FIELD initiative to raise awareness about child trafficking and mobilize communities to take meaningful action to help protect children. In partnership with concerned individuals and groups, the End Trafficking project aims to stop all exploitation.
Learn the signs.
Thousands of children are trafficked right here in the United States. These kids are not criminals, they are victims. Give them what they need to go from victims to survivors.
Signs a child is being trafficked:
Knows little about his or her whereabouts
Works excessively long hours
Exhibits fear or anxious behavior
Was hired with false promises
Has inconsistencies with his or her story.
Child sex trafficking is one of the most common types of commercial sexual exploitation. Child sex trafficking is a
high priority at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), because these children are often
currently missing and actively being exploited. Child sex trafficking victims include girls, boys, and LGBTQ youth.
Victims could be anyone – your daughter, neighbor, or nephew. Knowledge and awareness are key in keeping your loved ones safer. According to the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act sex trafficking is defined as “the recruitment, harboring,
transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act.”1 Children who are exploited through commercial sex are viewed as victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons, which is sex trafficking “in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age.”2 A commercial sex act is “any sex act on account of which
anything of value is given to or received by any person.
How does a child become a victim?
Traffickers target vulnerable children and lure them into sex trafficking using physical and psychological manipulation, and sometimes they may resort to violence. Any child may be vulnerable to such a person who promises to meet his or her emotional and physical needs. Often traffickers/pimps will create a seemingly loving or caring relationship with their victim in order to establish trust and allegiance. This manipulative relationship tries to ensure the youth will remain loyal to the exploiter even in the face of severe victimization. These relationships may begin online before progressing to a real-life encounter.
Who are the pimps? ANYONE CAN BE A PIMP
Pimps, also known as traffickers, can be anyone, including family
members, foster parents, friends, gangs, trusted adults, or “boyfriends,”
who profits from the selling of a minor to a buyer.
Targeted – Pimps are predators who seek out vulnerable victims. While
any youth can be targeted by a pimp, runaways or children experiencing
trouble at home are especially vulnerable. Traffickers know these
children have emotional and physical needs that are not often being met
and use this to their advantage. Pimps find victims at a variety of venues
such as in social networking websites, shopping malls, and schools; on
local streets; or at bus stations. Tricked – Pimps are willing to invest a great deal of time and effort in their victim to break down a victim’s natural resistance and suspicion –
buying them gifts, providing a place to stay, promising a loving relationship – before revealing their true intent. Frequently victims do not realize the deceptive nature of their trafficker’s interest in them, viewing their pimp as a caretaker and/or boyfriend.
Traumatized – A pimp’s use of psychological manipulation causes the
child to truly believe the pimp cares for his or her well-being. Coupled
with physical control this can make a victim feel trapped and powerless
to leave. This “trauma bond” is difficult to break and specialized
intervention and services are often necessary.
Is someone you know a victim?
Each time a child runs away his or her chance of being targeted increases. Youth being controlled by a trafficker or pimp frequently do not reveal their victimization because of the severe control their trafficker has over them, both physically and psychologically. Also, shame and guilt often keep victims silenced. If something does not seem right, ask questions! Establishing an ongoing, open and non-judgmental dialogue with children is critical to building trust that can create space for prevention and intervention.
Some signs and vulnerabilities to look for
History of sexual abuse. Traffickers will work to identify any vulnerability in a young
person’s life and use that to both create a closer bond and maintain future control.
History of running away or current status as a runaway.
Signs of current physical abuse and/or multiple sexually transmitted diseases.
Unstable home life and/or involvement in the child welfare or foster care system.
Inexplicable appearance of gifts, clothing, or other costly items that does not fit the
child’s situation. Traffickers often buy gifts for their victims as a way to build a
relationship and earn trust.
Presence of an older boy- or girlfriend. While they may seem “cool,” older friends or
boyfriends are not always the caring individuals they appear to be.
Substance abuse of harder drugs. Pimps may also target youth with significant drug
addictions as well as use drugs to lure and control their victims.
Withdrawal or lack of interest in previous activities. Due to depression or being
forced to spend time with their pimp, victims lose control of their personal lives.
Gang involvement, especially among girls.
How to keep your child safer
One of the most important things you can do to protect your child is to create an environment in which he or she
feels comfortable talking with you. Open communication is key. Share the dangers of sex trafficking with your
children and encourage them to alert you when they feel uncomfortable in any situation.
Often trafficking victims have experienced victimization in the past, and many times this has been inflicted by
individuals close to the victim. Do you trust the people with whom your child interacts? Knowing whom your
children are with at all times is crucial to protecting their safety.
When your daughter or son is online, do you know which sites they are visiting and with whom they are
communicating? Taking the time to monitor what your children do and who they are interacting with on the
Internet is a VERY important step in keeping your child safer.
If something does not seem right, ask questions!
When a child goes missing, the legal guardian should immediately call law enforcement and make a report.
Next, call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-360-463-7912 or call missing & Exploited Children.
extra step to report missing children to NCMEC ensures that all available resources are being employed to assist in the identification and recovery of that child. If you suspect a case of child sex trafficking, contact
the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® IF YOUR NOT IN WA at 1-360-463 7912
Each year, over 100,000 Mexican workers are brought for work in the U.S. on H-2A and H-2B visas in industries such as agriculture, forestry, travelling carnivals, and landscaping. Despite their legal status in the U.S., many temporary migrant workers are subjected to dangerous conditions, low pay, and other factors that put them at a high risk for trafficking. The system of labor recruitment, through which these workers obtain their visas before arriving in the U.S., is designed in a way that leaves workers vulnerable to abuse by unscrupulous recruiters and employers.
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