Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking

View the USDOJ's Infographic on Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the U.S.

DMST Policy Update May 2013

Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) as defined by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, reauthorized in 2008, is “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act” where the person is U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident under age 18.[1] DMST occurs when minors are forced, coerced or otherwise involved in the commercial sex industry. Despite how it may sound, trafficking does not require movement. A minor can be trafficked anywhere at any time and doesn’t even have to be moved beyond the boundaries of their own home to be a victim.

In effect, any child under the age of 18 who is engaged in a sex act in which something of value (it does not have to be money) is exchanged is a victim of sex trafficking. Exotic dancing, escort services, massage services, pornography of any kind and/or phone sex services are just some of the ways through which minors can be forced into trafficking.

The majority of people who are sex trafficked are females under the age of 18. While men and boys are victimized as well, evidence suggests that amongst the most vulnerable populations are young girls and women. Research suggests that the average age for a young girl to be recruited into prostitution is 12-14 years old[2]. The Ohio Trafficking in Persons Study (2010) states of 2,879 children (ages 12–17) identified as at risk, 1,078 were forced into the sex trade. According to National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Throwaway Children, the greatest risk group of children are runaways and throwaways.

Traffickers are often pimps (male or female) with commercial sex motives. Victims are recruited online, through chat rooms, social networking, or newspaper classified ads. Recruitment also takes place in public events, at shopping malls, outside of schools or in the vicinity of child shelters. Traffickers typically run hierarchical organizations and may partner with others to gain power and control over victims. Victims’ relationships with their traffickers are often complex. The trafficker may in fact be meeting the emotional, psychological, and physical needs of the victim. Traffickers are experts in identifying the weaknesses and needs of victims and exploit those vulnerabilities in order to lure, entrap and control the victim. Often those who have been trafficked do not self-identify as victims. Many believe that their own decisions have played a role in their victimization, thus they might feel responsible for what has happened to them. In many cases, victims view law enforcement as an enemy rather than a resource for help.

A common trend in domestic minor sex trafficking is for the trafficker to transport the child away from home to both avoid immediate detection and decrease the chances of the child returning home. The trafficker may travel with the child to many cities depending on sex tourism demands, for example during the Super Bowl. In most major cities, the area of known street prostitution would be referred to as “the track.” Pimps will often tattoo their victims, branding them with his or her name or logo.

Interventions for Victims of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Webinar Slides by Ebony Tucker, Esq. Associate Executive Director, FCASV

Information about DMST for faith based community members

Information about DMST for youth organizations, teachers and school resource officers

Informationabout DMST for health care providers

To report suspected trafficking or to seek help please call:

The National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-3737-888

The Florida Abuse Hotline 1-80096ABUSE (962-2873)

Florida Rape Crisis Centers 1-888-956-RAPE (7273)

Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking National Resources

Campaign to Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking

National Human Trafficking Resource Center

Shared Hope International

Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Florida Resources

Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking

Freedom to Thrive/SE Network of Youth and Family Services
Bonita Springs, FL
239-949-4414
polly@senetwork.org
http://www.senetwork.org

Broward Human Trafficking Coalition
Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, FL
954-594-3439
info@bhtc.us
www.bhtc.us

Covenant House Florida
Fort Lauderdale & Orlando, FL
Main Office in Fort Lauderdale: 1-800-683-8338
Main Office in Orlando: 1-800-441-4478
mission@covenanthousefl.org
http://www.covenanthousefl.org

Broward County Sexual Assault Treatment Center
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Main- 954-357-5775
Intake- 954-357-5778
aferrer@broward.org

www.broward.org/sexualassault

Women In Distress of Broward County, Inc.
Deerfield Beach/Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County, Florida
Main: 954-760-9800
24hr Hotline: 954-761-1133
General: info@womenindistress.org
Volunteer Opportunities: volunteerdepartment@womenindistress.org
http://www.womenindistress.org

Kristi House/Project GOLD
Miami, FL
Main: 305-547-6800
Intake & Volunteer Line: 305-285-5931
24 Hr. Hotline: 1-877-GOLD-916
Volunteer Email: sandys@kristihouse.org
General Email: dthompson@kristihouse.org
http://www.kristihouse.org

Harbor House of Central Florida, Inc.
Orlando, FL
Serves Central Florida (Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties)
24 Hr. Hotline: 407-886-2856
Main: 407-886-2244
admin@harborhousefl.com
http://www.harborhousefl.com



[1] Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, Pub. L. No. 106-386, Division A, § 103(8), (9), 114 Stat. 1464 (Signed into law on October 29, 2000); codified as amended at 22 USC 7102 § 103(8), 9. http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/10492.pdf access on February 7, 2012.

[2] Shared Hope International, 2009. “The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: America’s Prostituted Children.” http://www.sharedhope.org/Portals/0/Documents/SHI_National_Report_on_DMST_2009%28without_cover%29.pdf access on February 8, 2012.