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Understanding and combating sexual exploitation

What is sex trafficking?

Sex trafficking is when women, men and/or children are forcefully involved in commercial sex acts after being forced, coerced, threatened, mislead, or as a result of fraud. A commercial sex act is done in exchange for a service or value such as money, housing, food, drugs or clothing. In the United State, sex trafficking is defined as “recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of an individual through the means of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of commercial sex”. In sex trafficking cases involving children under the age of 18, it is NOT required to display force, fraud, or coercion.

Commercial sex is defined in the US as “any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person”

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Who is targeted?

Traffickers target vulnerable populations from any age, gender identity and race. The numbers of victims of sex trafficking is higher in vulnerable populations as victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, war, social discrimination and homeless youth.

Where does it occur?

Sex trafficking occur in several ways, some are by using online platforms such as social media, escort services and fake ads and others through fake massage parlors, in residential brothels, on the street, at hotels and motels.

Sex trafficking: supply & demand

Sex trafficking is a criminal industry that functions as a market that depends on supply and demand. Consumers (people who buy commercial sex) increase the demand, which in return provides profit for traffickers and pimps who maximize their revenues by exploiting more people to be trafficked. To reduce demand for sex trafficking and the number of exploited people, buyers need to stop getting involved in purchasing commercial sex and understand that they are a critical part of the issue.  

CRISE International |Centre de Recherche et d'Information sur l'Exploitation Sexuelle