Sex trafficking is a modern problem with ancient roots. For centuries, people have been coercing innocent young people to engage in sexual acts. Sex traffickers and predators use force, fraud or coercion to control and manipulate their victims. In many cases, those being trafficked are underage. Traffickers may use direct force or indirect action such as threatening to harm their victim’s friends or family if they seek help.
Important legislation to consider in determining what is the commercial sexual exploitation of children is the Trafficking Victims Protections Act (TVPA): Passed in 2000 as federal law and laid the ground work for combatting CSEC. The federal definition of “severe forms of sex trafficking” for minors includes: Any commercial sex act, regardless of whether or not coercion is involved. Translation: there is no such thing as a child prostitute.
What is Commercial Sexual Exploitation/Commercial Sex Act?
Commercial sexual exploitation occurs when an individual commits a sex act due to the force, fraud or coercion of an abuser. A sexual act that is done in exchange for some form of compensation falls under the umbrella of a commercial sex act. This does not need to be a monetary exchange. It may be in exchange for a place to live, food, clothing, drugs, protection, or even the false promise of fame or travel.
Sex Trafficking Statistics
Sex trafficking can occur at any age. At Selah Freedom, the majority of the survivors we serve were sexually abused beginning between 2-4 years old. Statistically, the most common age for a victim to run away and be caught up into the life of sex trafficking is between 15-17. 92% of survivors of sex trafficking report being sexually abused as children. It is a direct link. 1 out of ten children are sexually abused and two million children are sold into sex directly. 1 out of 9 children are approached online by a predator. Billions of dollars are made from the sexual exploitation of minors annually. Sex trafficking has been reported in every single state.
Human trafficking is a crime targeting our own children. We can come together to end it. One important factor which will help in this effort, is being able to identify the red flags and signs of human trafficking.
Signs of Sexual Coercion
Indicators of sexual exploitation can be broad or quite subtle. Top Indicators of Sex Trafficking/Exploitation include:
· Signs of or history of emotional, sexual, or other physical abuse, sexually transmitted diseases
· Unexplainable appearance of expensive gifts, clothing, or other costly items
· Presence of an older boy/girlfriend
· Minor in the company of a controlling third party
· Lack of knowledge about a given community or whereabouts
· Bruising and injuries, signs of branding/tattoos
· Lying about age, giving false ID and/or no ID
· Well-rehearsed and/or inconsistent stories
What You Can Do
Given these horrific stats, it’s understandable that people like you want to help. Everyone can do something! No matter where you are in the world, you can bring light into the darkness of sex trafficking. There are unique ways for you to get involved from hosting a Party With A Purpose and volunteering in Florida, Chicago or Wisconsin, to donating or raising awareness. Here are 14 ways you can fight sex trafficking:
Learn about the indicators of sex trafficking so you can help identify potential victims
Invite Selah Freedom to train your team
If you see something, say something! Call the national human trafficking hotline at 1-888-3737-888 or call Selah Freedom’s intake like at 1-888-8-FREE-ME
Volunteer with us
Meet with and/or write to your local, state, and federal government representatives to let them know you care about combating human trafficking, and ask what they are doing to address it.
Host a Party with a Purpose or Cocktails for a Cause
Encourage your local schools to educate students, faculty and staff on this issue through our Prevention Program’s curricula designed for K-12th grade
Be well-informed. Set up a web alert to receive current human trafficking news.
Businesses: Provide jobs, internships, skills training, and other opportunities to trafficking survivors.
Students: Take action on your campus. Join or establish a university club to raise awareness about human trafficking and initiate action throughout your local community. Consider doing one of your research papers on a topic concerning human trafficking.
Shop for freedom
Spread the word and stay connected
Support our mission
Visit https://www.selahfreedom.com/getinvolved to learn more about how you can get involved in our mission to end human trafficking.