The penalty: Sex trafficking of a minor, and depending on the age of the minor, the trafficker is subject to a minimum of 10-15 years in prison, up to a maximum life term prison sentence. We’re talking big jail time! In the video, what should stand out is that the victim is a teenager who is targeted based on multiple vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities include family history of violence, lack of a support system in foster care, and low self-esteem.
The trafficker pretends to offer a better life for the victim by providing food, clothes, and false promises of love, ultimately luring the victim to move into the trafficker’s home. It’s not long before the trafficker reveals the strings attached to these conditions and solicits the victim for the purposes of commercial sex acts in exchange for money – this is sex trafficking.
These violations fall under 18 U.S.C. § 1591 (Sex Trafficking of Children or by Force, Fraud, or Coercion).
By learning these facts, you are not only raising your awareness of the crimes of human trafficking, but and the consequences for the traffickers.
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How do you know?
From FY 2016 to FY 2018, task force efforts contributed to convictions of 682 individuals on human trafficking charges, with 96 percent for sex trafficking. Source: https://www.bja.gov/Publications/ECM-Program-Performance-Update-Report-FY16-18.pdf
What are the risk factors?
Risk factors that increase the chances that children will become victims of human trafficking or sexual exploitation include:
- Young age
- Limited education
- Lack of work opportunities
- Lack of family support
- History of previous sexual abuse, physical abuse, or psychological abuse
- Mental health challenges or learning disabilities
- Living in vulnerable areas
- Substance abuse or parent with substance abuse issues