What is Human Trafficking



The United Nations defines human trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation.

A minor of sex trafficking is someone subjected to “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age”

The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is:

Child victims of human trafficking are forced, induced, or coerced into providing labor, services, or commercial sex. A trafficked child may be compelled to engage in illegal activities such as prostitution or the selling of drugs.  Instead of being treated as victims, many are treated as criminals and are prosecuted accordingly. Arrest and prosecution can further traumatize the victim as well as leave him or her with a profound distrust of law enforcement. Oftentimes, this prevents victims from seeking assistance. Furthermore, the criminal record that results from being prosecuted can act as a barrier to future employment and other opportunities. Thus, it is necessary for states to enact laws that both protect and assist children that have been exploited for labor or sex. The laws that provide this type of protection are called safe harbor laws.

What a Safe Harbor Law Does:

Safe harbor laws were developed by states to address inconsistencies with how children that are exploited for commercial sex are treated. Under federal law, a child under eighteen that is induced into providing commercial sex is a victim of trafficking and must be treated as such. State laws criminalize adults that have sex with children under statutory rape laws, however these laws were not consistently applied in cases where the adult purchased sex. The result was children, recognized under both state and federal law as victims of a crime, were arrested and convicted of prostitution. Safe harbor laws are intended to address the inconsistent treatment of children and ensure that these victims were provided with services. Fundamentally, safe harbor laws have two components: legal protection and provision of services. The legal protection component provides immunity from prosecution for certain types of offenses because the child was induced or compelled to commit the offense or an established diversion program that affords a means for charges to be dismissed if the child completes a specialized services program. The services component of safe harbor requires that specialized services be made available to survivors. Services should include medical and psychological treatment, emergency and long-term housing, education assistance, job training, language assistance, and legal services. Ultimately, both components are necessary to reduce trauma and provide a path to recovery. (Taken from Polaris Project)