Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking : Prostitution Or Exploitation?

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Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: Prostitution or Exploitation? Although the history of child sex trafficking in developing nations has been widely documented, recently research has revealed that minor sex trafficking (also known as child prostitution) is a growing problem within U.S. borders as well. “Child prostitution is the sexual exploitation of a minor for profit, which can include money, drugs, or other items of value” (Center for Arizona Policy, 2014). The sexual exploitation of minors is a lucrative business managed by pimps who use methods of seduction, coercion and/or excessive force to exploit children in exchange for profit. Recent studies indicate that the average age for entry into child prostitution is 12-14 years old, …show more content…

In order to understand the victimization of child prostitutes, it is necessary to look at the process in which they are usually recruited. The first step in the pimp’s victimization of young females is referred to as “romancing”. Usually pimps target girls that possess a low self-esteem and, as previously stated, are already victims of abuse. Often traffickers will present as wealthy business men doting on the girls with gifts, verbal affirmation, and offering opportunities for fame and money. Once the pimp has gained his victim’s trust, he begins to exploit her. The next step is called “seasoning.” In this stage, the perpetrator begins to condition his victim by breaking down her resistance through methods such as threats, torture, rape, starvation, blackmail, humiliation, branding, and forced drug use. During this stage, victims undergo extreme psychological manipulation. It is no surprise that prolonged exploitation results in severe physical and psychological trauma including but not limited to STD’s, bruises, burns, broken bones, branding, substance abuse, developmental disorders, eating disorders, homelessness, self-mutilation, insomnia, anxiety, ADHD, severe depression, personality disorder, and bipolar disorder. Clearly sex trafficking is not a victimless crime. Adults who participate in the buying and selling of minors for commercial sex are sexual predators that should be prosecuted.

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