Our generation taking a stand against modern-day slavery.
Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act where the person is under the age of 18. DMST is the commercial sexual abuse of children by selling, buying, or trading their sexual service.
ALL TEENS ARE AT RISK TO BE VICTIMS OF DMST
All teens are at risk to be victims of DMST, but these factors increase vulnerability: homelessness, drug/alcohol abuse, parental mental illness, societal isolation, violence, depression, runaways, and youth living in out-of-home placements such as foster care, group homes, or youth shelters.
Minors involved in DMST can engage in prostitution, pornography, stripping, escort services, or other sexual services. Most think that human trafficking is only a major international problem, it is not. It is a large problem in the U.S., in fact, there are more citizens who are victims of sex trafficking within U.S. borders than are foreign nationals. (Hughes, Enslaved in the USA)
*click asterisks for sources.
In 2018, over half (51.6%) of the criminal human trafficking cases active in the US were sex trafficking cases involving only children.
CHILDREN ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO TRAFFICKING THAN ADULTS.
They’re easier to control, cheaper, and less likely to demand working conditions, researchers explain. Between 244,00 to 325,000 young people in the US are considered “at-risk” of sexual exploitation, and an estimated 199,000 incidents of sexual exploitation of minors occur each year in the United States.
Globally, an estimated 71% of enslaved people are women and girls , while men and boys account for 29%.*
The US, along with Mexico and the Philippines, was ranked as one of the world's worst places for human trafficking in 2018. In the US there is no official number of human trafficking victims, but estimates place it in hundreds of thousands.*
Social Trafficking is the utilization of social media platforms to seek out victims, recruiters and buyers to participate involuntary or voluntary in human trafficking. Social trafficking also encompasses the physical meetings between recruiters, buyers and victims.
SOCIAL MEDIA & HUMAN TRAFFICKING
We know that 40% of human trafficking victims are acquired through a recruiting process. This process can occur online or IRL (in real life). In a recent study, by the University of Toledo, it was found that social media is increasingly being exploited to contact, recruit and sell children for sex. Fewer victims are kidnapped as social media and technology have opened an endless source of prospects. Recruiters and pimps utilize various social media platforms to both identify and secure victims.
Grooming and sextortion are two ways that traffickers convert the virtual relationships to physical ones. Grooming is actions deliberately undertaken with the aim of befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a person, in order to lower the person’s inhibitions. It is only a matter of time after victims are groomed that they experience sextortion. Sextortion is the practice of extorting money or sexual favors from someone by threatening to reveal evidence of their sexual activity or posts.
Click here to view other human trafficking definitions.
KNOW THE SIGNS
WHEN SOMEONE IS POTENTIALLY BEING TRAFFICKED
Recognizing potential red flags and knowing the indicators of human trafficking is a key step in identifying more victims and helping them find the assistance they need. Bear in mind that not all indicators will be present in all situations. Things like the type of trafficking, the content and/or environment are all important to consider. Below is a comprehensive list of potential signs of a trafficker provided by Polaris Project. Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern day slavery.
Is under 18 years of age and being forced or coerced to provide sex for food, shelter, money or security.
Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp/manager.
Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips.
Works excessively long and/or unusual hours.
Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work.
Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work.
Is living or working in a location with high-security measures (e.g. opaque or boarded-up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.).
Exhibits unusually fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid behavior.
Reacts with unusually fearful or anxious behavior at any reference to ” law enforcement”.
Avoids eye contact.
Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture.
Has few or no personal possessions.
Is not in control of his/her own money, and/or has no financial records, or bank account.
Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (e.g. ID, Passport, visa).
Is not allowed or able to speak for him/herself (e.g. a third party may insist on being present and/or interpreting).
Has been “branded” by a trafficker (e.g. a tattoo of the trafficker’s name or a barcode or nickname).
This list is not exhaustive and represents only a selection of possible indicators. The red flags in this list may not be present in all trafficking cases. Each individual indicator should be taken in context, not be considered in isolation, nor should be taken as “proof” that human trafficking is occurring. Additionally, cultural differences should also be considered.
POTENTIAL SIGNS OF A TRAFFICKER
Below is a comprehensive list of potential signs of a trafficker provided by Polaris Project. Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern day slavery.
Gets jealous easily, seems controlling or exhibits violence.
Is dating a girl/guy much younger.
Promises things that seem too good to be true.
Encourages you to engage in illegal activities to “achieve our goals and dreams”.
Suggests they know how to help you make a lot of money.
Buys expensive gifts or likes to flash their money.
Is vague about his/her profession; you can’t prove what they really do.
Gets pushy or demanding about sex.
Wants to take suggestive photos; encourages you to model or dance for money.
Makes you feel responsible for his/her financial stability; very open about financial matters.
RESOURCES & PARTNERS
Youth4Abolition works together with many local, regional, national and international human trafficking organizations to end modern day slavery. Below are some of our partner organizations and additional resources to further understand the issue of human trafficking.
BE AN ADVOCATE
TRAFFICKING VICTIMS PROTECTION ACT
Human trafficking wasn’t a federal crime in the US until 2000 when the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was passed. The TVPA is the cornerstone federal law against human trafficking, it was originally passed in 2000, and has been reauthorized and expanded multiple times, most recently, in 2019. TVPA provides the legal definition of human trafficking, that underpins all law enforcement and service provider efforts. It gives the legal definition to Sex and Labor trafficking.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING TERMS & LEGISLATION
There are a number of bills introduced each year that advocate for victims, support survivors, penalized perpetrators, and have to do with human trafficking in general each year. Be an advocate, contact your state and federal representatives, and stay up-to-date with the legislation by visiting GovTrack.
Buyer: Someone who gives or agrees to give something of value in return for sex or sexual content.
Community policing agents: The term that describes the individuals and agencies responsible for enforcing laws and maintaining public order and public safety. This includes the prevention, detection, and investigation of crime and the apprehension and detection of individuals suspected of law violation.
Coercion: The practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats.
Domestic trafficking: Human trafficking within the borders of the victim’s own country. It happens in all countries and is a big and booming business in the United States.
Emotional intelligence: The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
Fraud: Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain.
Grooming: Actions deliberately undertaken with the aim of befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a person, in order to lower the person’s inhibitions.
Human trafficking: Modern day slavery. It involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to enslave men, women, and children for the purpose of commercial sex, debt bondage, or forced labor.