Frequently Asked Questions

What is human trafficking?
As defined by the federal government, “Human trafficking is a crime that involves the exploitation of a person for the purposes of compelled labor or a commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. When a person younger than 18 is induced to perform a commercial sex act, it is a crime regardless of whether there is any force, fraud, or coercion.”

What is commercial sexual exploitation of children?
Commercial sexual exploitation of children is sexual activity involving sex for an exchange for something of value, or promise thereof, to the child or another person or persons. The child is treated as commercial and sexual property.

What does commercial exploitation of children include?

  • Pornography
  • Stripping
  • Erotic/nude massage
  • Interfamilial pimping
  • Survival sex
  • Private parties
  • Gang-based prostitution
  • Escort services
  • Internet-based exploitation
  • Street prostitution (the track, the blade)

Who are the victims of CSEC?
Victims of child exploitation are under the age of 18 and can be of any ethnicity, race, religion, socioeconomic class, gender, and sexual orientation.

Who is especially vulnerable to CSEC?
Children most vulnerable to exploitation are those who have been neglected by their parent or guardian. This includes homeless youth, runaways, children who have a history of abuse, and those who are within the foster care system. Children who come from low-income neighborhoods and live in areas where violent crime is prevalent are also vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

Why don’t victims seek help?
Victims of sexual exploitation often feel that they have no safe place to go to for help. Most victims are isolated from family and friends, may feel ashamed or embarrassed to confide in their loved ones, or have no support system in place to get the help they need. Sometimes victims are imprisoned by their exploiter/trafficker and are unable to escape due to threats and/ or physical abuse. Exploited youth can also be groomed by pimps to distrust systems and may not be aware of existing services.

Who are the exploiters/traffickers?
They are anyone who benefits from the commercial sexual exploitation of a minor (under 18 years old) and/or facilitates the commercial sexual exploitation of a minor. Exploiters/traffickers can be anyone of any gender, age, or ethnicity, and may or may not be part of a criminal organization. Sometimes they can also be someone the victim knows and trusts, like a family member.

Who are the buyers?
Buyers or “johns” are recipients of the sexual services and can be of any age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background. The buyers are equally responsible for the crime even if they lack information of victim’s age or status.