What is Sex Trafficking?
Sex trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that exists throughout the United States and globally.
Domestic (in the United States) sex trafficking may not be what you think it is. Most of us have seen the movie "Taken", but the majority of girls/women who are sex trafficked are not kidnapped. In fact, children are being sold for sex right out of their own homes. Some by family members (familial trafficking), others by what the girl believes to be her boyfriend (boyfriend pimp) after school. In both cases these girls are home at night and friends and neighbors are unsuspecting.
A 2016 study by the UT School of Social Work also found that 86% of trafficking victims in Texas have come out of the foster care system. They are chronic runaways that the system has given up on. As a result, no one is even looking for these kids. It's estimated that runaways are approached by a pimp within 48 hours of hitting the streets!
Sex traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt-bondage, and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to have sex against their will.
Source: Polaris Project
Sex trafficking is the fastest growing crime in America, expected to surpass drug trafficking in 2019. There are almost 79,000 youth being sold for sex in Texas today. This is happening across all socio-economic, racial, educational and family backgrounds. Sex trafficking is driven by supply and demand, with the internet being the primary way transactions are made to purchase a girl for sex.
Pimps and traffickers can easily make six-figures a year from the sale of one girl for sex. They will do whatever it takes to keep them! They will drug them, beat them, make false promises, threaten their families, hurt other girls in their "stable" (what the trafficker calls the group of girls he's trafficking), and even kill someone.
Under U.S. federal law, any minor under the age of 18 years old induced into commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking—regardless of whether or not the trafficker used force, fraud, or coercion.