we believe that every child deserves a life free from harm, particularly the hurt that comes from sexual abuse
Sex trafficking occurs when force, fraud or coercion is used to make an individual perform a commercial sex act such as prostitution, pornography or escort services. Any minor under the age of 18 engaged in a commercial sex act is a victim regardless of the use of force, fraud or coercion. Sex trafficking is fueled by buyers who pay traffickers to perform sexual acts with victims. Women, men and children from all backgrounds are victimized through sex trafficking. Traffickers, buyers and victims look like ordinary people in the community.
Traffickers are the men and women who lure youth into sex trafficking and sell them to buyers. Buyers are the men and women who pay to have sex with victims. Victims are the girls and boys suffering from this insidious crime. Young people, especially those with risk factors, are vulnerable to sex trafficking. Vulnerability factors that make youth more susceptible to trafficking include low self-esteem, abuse or neglect, poverty, homelessness, being in the child welfare system and identifying as LGBTQ. Vulnerable youth are often preyed on by traffickers and lured with false promises of love, money, or simply a better life.
Child Sexual Abuse
Child sexual abuse occurs when an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation by engaging in sexual activities with a child, indecent exposure, child grooming, child sexual exploitation or the production of child pornography. Most victims of child sexual abuse know their offenders, sometimes they are the child’s relatives. Child sexual abuse is an all-too-common occurrence resulting in harm to millions of girls and boys across all communities, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years). ACEs are linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance misuse in adulthood. ACEs can also negatively impact education and job opportunities. ACEs can be prevented. According to the American Journal of Public Health, maltreated youths are more susceptible to exploitation in human trafficking. Sexual abuse in connection with high ACEs scores may serve as a key predictor of exploitation in human trafficking for both girls and boys.
Need Help Now?
If you are being exploited or suspect someone is, you can report the abuse to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.