...child sex trafficking, prostitution of children, commercial sexual exploitation of children - it is all same the crime.
In the United States, the Trafficking Victims Violence Prevention Act of 2000 (TVPA) defined and classified child sex trafficking as "the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person forced to perform such an act is under the age of eighteen years old".
Sex trafficking is a demand driven industry. The product for sale is most commonly a local (domestic) child. Human trafficking knows no race, creed or background; sex trafficking exist in your city, in your neighborhood, or along your drive home, and this horror is growing exponentially.
Exploited sex trafficked children are often labeled “child prostitutes” and punished for the crime that is committed against them.
"Children over the age of seven and under the age of sixteen are prosecuted in Family Court for committing criminal acts and are accused of being juvenile delinquents. Sixteen year old youths, also deemed incapable of consenting to sexual conduct by reason of infancy, are prosecuted as adults in criminal court"...
..."Sex trafficking victims who are apprehended by the police are far more likely to be arrested and treated as law breakers than identified as victims and offered services."
- Lawyer's Manual on Human Trafficking "Pursuing Justice for Victims" 2011
“I always felt like a criminal. I never felt like a victim at all. Victims don’t do time in jail, they work on the healing process. I was a criminal because I spent time in jail. I definitely felt like nothing more than a criminal.”
– “Tonya”, Survivor of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking, --
• In 9 out of 10 assessments, state sex trafficking laws did not align with the federal sex trafficking victims protection. This contradiction of law can impede the successful prosecution of sex traffickers, as well as the buyers of children. Furthermore, this issue often will contribute to the withholding of needed "sex trafficking victim status" which provides special services for foreign children who are victims of sex trafficking within the United States. Moreover, the services available to a US citizen's child victim of sex trafficking is close to nonexistent.
• Greater awareness of existing human trafficking laws and their proper application is necessary to increase the prosecution of these criminals. When utilized, state and federal anti-trafficking laws have resulted in traffickers/pimps receiving prison sentences. However, assessments have revealed minimal application of these laws for cases involving prostituted American youth.
• The regretful truth is very few buyers of prostituted children are arrested nor prosecuted in the United States. Law enforcement agencies face legal and systemic challenges which interfere with their ability to investigate, arrest, and prosecute buyers.