Facts & Figures

Facts & Figures

United States of America and Abroad

The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 provides the legal framework for prosecuting sex traffickers.  It defines sex trafficking as, “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act.”

  • In the United States, more citizens are victims of sex trafficking than those born in foreign countries.  American youth are the most vulnerable.
  • International law defines a child as anyone under 18.
  • There are currently at least 100,000 minors beings trafficked in the US.
  • Child sex tourism is an international crime, whereas adult sex tourism is not because prostitution is legal in some countries.  Any tourist who has sex with a minor violates the UN Convention of the Rights of a Child (Article 34 is about international violations) and the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.
  • Those who engage in child sex tourism do not fit traditional profiles of pedophiles, but are general users of prostitutes.
  • Child sex tourism thrives in regions where the general population also uses prostitutes, so sex trafficking seems to have both tourist and local components.
  • The Youth Career Initiative, started by the International Business Leaders’ Foundation, seeks to employ more youth in hotels.
  • ChildWise focuses on training tourism workers and students in how to identify and respond to situations of child trafficking.
  • World Vision launches a 2004 campaign to deter sex tourist by setting up billboards in airports and on streets of countries with high numbers of trafficked children.
  • The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation is a pledge tour operators take to adopt policies against trafficking; train company staff on how to prevent trafficking; provide information to the travelers in relation to trafficking; insert clauses in contracts with suppliers jointly repudiating trafficking; work together with ‘key persons’ in destinations to prevent trafficking; and report annually on the implementation of these measures.
  • The UN World Tourism Organization formed a Task Force to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation in Tourism, meeting biannually at tourism conventions to develop voluntary principles to guide the tourism industry.
  • UNICEF conducts awareness campaigns.
  • The best policies seem to be ones that shame destinations connected with child sex trafficking and acknowledge responsible operators
  • 1n 1996, 25 US companies offered sex tour packages to developing countries.  This number has greatly fallen since due to better law enforcement.

Reference: Domestic minor sex trafficking in the United States, Social Work, 55.2 (April 2010): p181(7).

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