Sex trafficking is human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, including sexual slavery. A victim is forced, in one of a variety of ways, into a situation of dependency on their trafficker(s) and then used by said trafficker(s) to give sexual services to customers.
Sex traffickers use threats, manipulation, lies, debt bondage, and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. Any minor under the age of 18 years induced into commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking — regardless of whether or not the trafficker used force, fraud, or coercion.
The situations that sex trafficking victims face vary dramatically. Many victims become romantically involved with someone who then forces or manipulates them into prostitution. Others are lured in with false promises of a job, such as modeling or dancing. Some are forced to sell sex by their parents or other family members. They may be involved in a trafficking situation for a few days or weeks, or may remain in the same trafficking situation for years.
Vulnerable populations are frequently targeted by traffickers, including runaway and homeless youth, as well as victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, war, or social discrimination.
Sex trafficking occurs in a range of venues including fake massage businesses, via online ads or escort services, in residential brothels, on the street or at truck stops, or at hotels and motels.
Sex trafficking, one specific type of human trafficking, occurs when people are forced or coerced into the commercial sex trade against their will. Adults or children can be victims of sex trafficking. Child sex trafficking includes any child involved in commercial sex. Sex traffickers frequently target vulnerable people with histories of abuse and then use violence, threats, lies, false promises, debt bondage, or other forms of control and manipulation to keep victims trapped.
Sex trafficking happens within the larger commercial sex trade (prostitution, pornography), often at much larger rates than most people realize or understand. Sex trafficking has been found in venues scattered across the overall sex industry, including residential brothels, hostess clubs, online escort services, fake massage businesses, strip clubs, and street prostitution.
Internationally, a common scheme to seduce women is to promise them jobs overseas as waitresses or domestic servants. Once out of the country and away from their family, traffickers take victims' passports and subject them to beatings or rape to force them into their new "job."