What is Sex Trafficking?

The Faces of Sex Trafficking

Many people refer to it as “child prostitution,” and sometimes, the children are arrested rather than treated like victims when the operation is exposed. Sex trafficking differs from prostitution, however, because it involves three, not two, people. The victim, the buyer, and a third person who forces or coerces the victim into sex for payment. There is no “choice” on the child’s part, no consent, and almost always, no money kept by the child.

 How Big a Problem is Sex Trafficking?

  • An estimated 300,000 American children are trafficked for sex every year.
  • About 14,000-18,000 of these children are trafficked into the United States from other countries.
  • Human trafficking in the United States is a $32 billion a year industry.
  • An estimated 2.8 million children currently live on the streets of the United States. About 70% of them will fall victim to sex trafficking.
  • A third of them will fall victim within the first 48 hours of leaving home.
  • Life expectancy for children in the sex industry is 3-7 years. Homicide and AIDS are the primary killers.
  • Their average age, according to the FBI, is 12 to 14.
  • According to the National Council of Jewish Women, 77% of child sex workers who are not rescued early become adult prostitutes. They end up trapped in what sex workers refer to as “The Life.”

What Is the Profile of a Victim of Child Sex Trafficking?

Like domestic abuse, victims of child sex trafficking can be anyone under 18 years of age. They do not come from any particular race, socio-economic strata, or geographical location. They can be anyone. They can be your children.

These are some of the vulnerabilities they seem to share:

  • They were often sexually abused as children.
  • About 80% are female.
  • Many are undocumented immigrants.
  • Many are runaways, homeless, or mentally and emotionally ill.
  • Many are oppressed or impoverished.

How Do Children Become Victims of Sex Trafficking?

Traffickers hang out where children hang out – at malls, schools, rehab centers, homeless shelters, and online. They prey on children who are vulnerable by promising them a better life, the love they don’t have at home, material possessions, a good job, opportunities, freedom from parental constraints.

Traffickers commonly use other children to recruit new girls. Often an older girl with pretty clothes, money, jewelry, and electronics works on behalf of the pimp and befriends the victim and invites the child to a motel or talks the child into selling herself or her virginity.

Traffickers use the Internet to lure victims by posting jobs that attract teens. They then then sell the children to prostitution rings. They also find victims through social media. Teens often post huge amounts of information about themselves, including many photos. Traffickers use that information to find them, lure them, and gain their trust.

Traffickers then post ads on Web sites like Craig’s List and Backpage, forcing the girls to pose for seductive pictures and even make short, erotic videos to attract customers.

To avoid having the ad removed from the site for explicitly advertising the sale of sex with children, traffickers use code words and phrases in their ads. “Fresh,” “candy,” “new to town,” and “new to the game” are easily recognized by men looking to have sex with children.


Where Does the Dirty Business of Sex Trafficking Happen?

Some sex trafficking is operated right out of a suburban brothel located in a home. Spas, massage parlors, and strip clubs are notorious loci for child sex trafficking.

Most of the sex happens at hotels. Many pimps run traffic out of a room with two or three girls, directing clients who contact them via a cell phone or via the Internet to the hotel room.

The problem is so enormous that many hotels are now training their staff, especially housekeeping and room service, to recognize red flags that suggest a child is being trafficked:

  • Someone other than the guest rents the room, checks in without luggage, and leaves the hotel.
  • The child left in the room may seem confused, disoriented, ashamed, or nervous.
  • The child may show signs of abuse, like bruises.
  • The child may have tattoos that reflect ownership. Pimps often brand women with their name or a special symbol.
  • The child may be dressed inappropriately for her age or for the weather.

Cyber Sex Trafficking: “Cyber-Trafficking”

Virtual sex trafficking takes place in “Cyber-sex dens” located all over the world in a variety of places – private homes, offices, and Internet cafes. All the trafficker needs is an internet connection, a computer, and a web cam.

Parents and other adults close to the child submit their children to cyber-sex because they see it as hidden from the law and as something that won’t really violate their children. They have an “it’s-just-a-camera” mentality.

Pedophiles from all over the world pay a minimum of $50 per minute to sit in a chat room and type their instructions into a computer and watch via live camera as children perform sexual acts for them.

Completely disregarding the emotional and psychological trauma to these children, the pedophiles who pay to watch the children perform sex acts on live video feed justify their actions because they never have physical contact with the children.

One group of dens based in the Philippines and run by an international pedophile ring was recently raided and shut down after an investigation by UK, Australian, and United States authorities. Police rescued 15 children between the ages of 6 and 15. Parents brought their children to the house where the children were forced to perform sex acts in front of lap tops as pedophiles all over the world paid to tell them what sex acts they wanted to see.

Some of the pedophiles were identified as being “extremely dangerous child sexual offenders who believed paying for children to be abused . . . was something they could get away with” (source: Panay News).The parents were then paid by the house owner.

We are Advanced Bio Treatment. We are here for you 24 hours every day of the year. Should you need our services, please call us at 800-295-1684.

Sex-Trafficking Resources:

Federal Bureau of Investigation – Human Trafficking

Thorn – Digital Defenders of Children

Missing Kids – Fact Sheet For Parents Guardians

F.A.C.E.S.S. – Protect Your Child


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Ted Pelot Owner & President of Crime Scene Cleanup Company - Advanced Bio-Treatment