Sex Trafficking Survivors
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Sex trafficking can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or age. However, some people are more vulnerable than others. Significant risk factors include recent migration or relocation, substance use, mental health, involvement with the child welfare system and being a runaway or homeless youth. Traffickers often identify and leverage their victims’ vulnerabilities to create dependency.
Facts about Sex Trafficking
- In the United States, sex trafficking is defined as “recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of an individual through the means of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of commercial sex.” However, it is not necessary to demonstrate force, fraud, or coercion in sex trafficking cases involving children under the age of 18.
- Sex trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which individuals perform commercial sex through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.
- Minors under the age of 18 engaging in commercial sex are considered to be victims of human trafficking, regardless of the use of force, fraud, or coercion.
- In 2019, 11,500 sex trafficking cases were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
- Victims of sex trafficking can be U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, any race, class, or religion, and people of all gender identities and sexual orientations. Vulnerable populations are frequently targeted by traffickers, including runaway and homeless youth, as well as victims of intimate partner violence, sexual assault/abuse, war, or social discrimination.
- As of 2018, 1 in 7 runaway children is likely a victim of child sex trafficking.
- Sex trafficking occurs in a range of venues including fake massage businesses, via online ads or escort services, in residential brothels, on the street or at truck stops, or at hotels and motels.
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
- The Polaris Project