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12 Facts About Child Sex Trafficking

  1. Jones & Finkelhor (2001) suggest that the number of substantiated and indicated cases of child sexual abuse was about 105,000 in the late 90s. Most recent statistics from the US Bureau of Justice reveal that there are between 100,000 and 300,000 child prostitutes in the US. 
  2. In addition to the 104,000 identified cases, the US National Report estimates that the number of kids at risk for sexual exploitation is 286,506 (Estes and Weiner, 2001, p.12). This number does not reflect the exact number of sexually exploited children in the U.S., but it highlights the number of kids at-risk for commercial sex exploitation. 
  3. The at-risk population includes children who are at special and high risk of sexual exploitation because of their unique circumstances as runaways, throwaways, victims of physical or sexual abuse, users of psychotropic drugs, members of sexual minority groups, illegally trafficked children, and children who cross international borders in search of cheap drugs and other illicit fare. 
  4. The average age of entry into prostitution for a child victim in the United States is 12-14 years old (The U.S. Department of Justice; Estes and Weiner, 2001). 
  5. Between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away each year (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention).
  6. As many as 2.8 million children live on the streets. One out of every three will be lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home (National Runaway Switchboard).
  7. Runaway youth are 50% male and 50% female. Females are more likely to seek help through shelters and hotlines (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention). 
  8. More than 6.5 million children with regular internet access are exposed to unwanted sexual material annually. More than 1.7 million of these young people report considerable distress over exposure to these materials (Finkelhor, 2000).
  9. At least 95% of all the commercial sex boys engaged in is provided to adult males; many of these adult male sexual exploiters are married men with children.
  10. Pimp-controlled juvenile prostitution is closely associated with: escort and massage services, private dancing, drinking and photographic clubs, major sporting and recreational events, major cultural events, conventions, and selected tourist destinations.
  11. Pimp-controlled juvenile prostitution exists side by side with adult prostitution—often on the same streets and along the same tracks.
  12. About 20% of children we encountered in this study were being trafficked nationally by organized criminal units using well established prostitution tracks.

Watch an Interview with a Pimp

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