Child sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, or advertising of a minor child for the purpose of a commercial sex act, which involves the exchange of anything of value – such as money, drugs or a place to stay – for sexual activity.
While any child can be targeted by a trafficker, research has shown that traffickers often target children with increased vulnerabilities and prey upon a child’s vulnerability and use psychological pressure and intimidation to control, and sexually exploit, the child for financial benefit. However, the issue of child sex trafficking is complex and not all instances of child sex trafficking involve an identified trafficker. In such cases, it is the person buying sex from the child who exploits the child’s vulnerabilities. Traffickers and buyers of children for sex encompass all racial, socio-economic and cultural groups. Child sex trafficking has devastating consequences for its minor victims, including long-lasting physical and psychological trauma, disease, and/or even death.