What is sex trafficking?
Sex trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings
for the purposes of sexual commercial exploitation.
Laws in the United States
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA)
The TVPA was enacted in 2000 and was the first comprehensive federal law to address human trafficking. It included prevention through public awareness programs and a monitoring and sanctions program led by the State Department; protection through a visa and services for foreign national victims; and prosecution through new federal crimes.
The Mann Act
The Federal Mann Act (enacted in 1910 and recently modernized) was not originally passed to deal with human trafficking; however, it can apply in some situations. The Mann Act makes it a felony to knowingly transport any person in interstate or foreign commerce for prostitution, or for any sexual activity for which a person can be charged with a criminal offense.
The PROTECT Act
The PROTECT Act was enacted in 2003 to combat the sexual exploitation of children. Among other things, the Act requires courts to impose mandatory sentences for sex offenders and makes it a crime to travel abroad to engage in sexual conduct with minors.
States with sex trafficking laws
States with no laws
Around the world
Warning signs of a trafficked person
Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-3737-888 with any concerns.
Global education for poverty-stricken societies
Increased prevention and awareness
International law cooperation
Increased criminalization and sanctions
In the long term, wiping out slavery requires helping the world’s poor gain greater control over their lives. Mandatory primary and secondary education and social protection against poverty are the first steps
Prosecutors need more assistance and protection developing cases against traffickers while victims must be given public assistance in the form of protection, rehabilitation shelters, health-care and residency status.
Corruption is one of the primary reasons human trafficking and slavery continues to this day. Therefore, public officials must be regularly investigated, held accountable and punished for corruption.
Borders need to be strengthened and international law enforcement coordination and cooperation must become a priority. Political lobbying, legal aid and funding for non-governmental groups are also vital.
Training programs for officials, public awareness, a warning system (like Amber Alert), and media campaigns have all proven successful in preventing and stopping human trafficking.