Sex Trafficking

The majority of survivors we encounter are those in sex slavery.


If a victim is a minor and used in commercial sex of any kind including stripping, pornography and/or prostitution , they are legally severe victims of human trafficking. Commercial sex means that the sexual acts are given in exchange for something of value. That “item of value” may be money, or simply a sandwich or a couch to sleep on for the night for a runaway. The majority of child sex trafficking victims are US citizens.

In 2006, Shared Hope International received a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to perform field research on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking – the sex trafficking of American children. Here’s a quote from that report:

“American children are victims of sex trafficking within the United States. Domestic child victims tend to be easy targets and carry less risk for the traffickers and buyers than adults and foreign nationals. As transportation of human trafficking victims across borders becomes increasingly difficult and dangerous the trend is to target children here in the US.”

Minors make a lot more money for their controllers than older girls do- in the case of one survivor we’ve worked with,  it was about $400  each time she was sold.

According to a report released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, out of the runaways actually reported each year, about 1000 are trafficked.

For a look at the most common tactics used to enslave youth, visit

One study determined that minors who are trafficking victims are sold 10 to 15 times a day, six days a week. That means that each victim is “used” 9,360 to 14,040 times a year. Can you imagine the level of  trauma that would produce in a child?

80% of victims are female- but  want to note that boys are victims of human trafficking also, for both labor and sex.

In fact prostituted boys typically begin at an even younger age than girls.

It’s clear that our children – both foreign nationals and US citizens – are targets for predators who wish to use them as very lucrative commodities.



For an adult to be a victim of human trafficking, force, fraud or coercion must be present. Sex trafficking of adults includes forced prostitution, stripping and pornography.  It’s common to be threatened with serve harm to themselves or their family members, including their children, parents or siblings. Others are offered a seemingly legitimate job as a maid, nanny, waitress, factory worker, gardener or the like, but the “job” turns out to be slavery and the promised terms and wages , a lie.

The means of control mimic every category of torture as seen in the graphic below.