Sex trafficking is the forcible coercion of men and women into sexual servitude. While some of these individuals have been victims of human trafficking from abroad, a huge number of Americans are also victims of sexual trafficking, usually by individuals they trust. Sex trafficking is often part of larger criminal enterprises, including drug sale and trafficking and many of these criminals will use drugs or threats of violence to keep sexual trafficking victims complaint.
What common arrangements are in sex trafficking?
Although a number of sex trafficking operations exist in drug dens or on the streets, there are also a number of seemingly legitimate establishments that may also be engaged in sex trafficking. This has usually been establishments that serve as strip clubs, massage parlors and spas. Escort services too, are generally suspect for their role in connecting victims with johns that buy their services. While not all of these establishments are engaged in illegal activity, the vast majority of sexual trafficking cases have revolved around cover businesses that appear to offer legitimate services involving the victims.
How are victims forced into sex trafficking arrangements?
The victims are abused, threatened, and usually confined to the premises, depending on the criminal enterprise. Fraud is also typical, especially with individuals trafficked from overseas. These persons are typically offered a lucrative job in America, only to be forced into a sexually exploitive line of work. This arrangement is usually accompanied by exorbitant, usually accrued fraudulently, with the sex trafficking establishment charge exorbitant “living expenses” for food, clothing and shelter consumed by the victim.
For many arrangements, there is likely a violation of the trust the victim placed in the individual, either through personal or cultural bonds. Sex traffickers typically instill a fear of police or immigration officials to prevent victims, especially victims from abroad from seeking help. Cultural and language barriers also prevent sex trafficking victims from receiving the help they need to escape from the arrangement.
What are common forms of sex trafficking in the United States?
Massage parlor – typically Asian women from abroad and run by Asian sex trafficking criminal enterprises, these establishments masquerade as a legitimate business advertising “exotic massages” in print or on the internet. Sexual services are usually obtained by code and the only sources of income, if at all, for these victims are tips paid by the customer.
Street prostitution – these victims are generally controlled by a pimp or madam and are forced to meet high quotas selling sexual services. All of the money is taken by the pimp and the prostitute is threatened with violence if caught planning to leave the “protection” of the pimp. Truck stop prostitution is also common and some truck drivers may be complicit in moving trafficking victims to other states to avoid detection.
Escort Services, Strip Clubs and Hostess Bars – these arrangements, under the guise of legitimate erotic services and force the victims to engage in sex with customers. Escort services maintain call services that will offer variable locations or “out-calls” to prevent discovery by authorities.