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What is sex trafficking/commercial sexual exploitation?

SEX TRAFFICKING: is the act of forcing, coercing, or transporting a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act. These crimes are primarily committed against women and children. Sex trafficking can occur in residential brothels, brothels disguised as massage parlors, strip clubs, and via online escort services and street prostitution.

Source: The State of Human Trafficking in California. 2012 Kamala Harris, CA State Attorney General.

COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN: Occurs when individuals buy, trade, or sell sexual acts with a child. Sex trafficking is “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act.”

Children who are involved in the commercial sex industry are viewed as victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons, which is sex trafficking “in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age.”

A commercial sex act is “any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.”



General Questions

Isn't prostitution a choice?

The perception is prostitution is a choice…
The reality is, prostitution is sexual exploitation and THAT is a crime.

Nearly 100% of Journey Out clients have been victims of child abuse or neglect. A sexually exploited individuals history of victimization and trauma sets her up for a psychological belief that she deserves no better and has no other options. For many of them there is no such thing as choice, and once they are in it, it is extremely difficult to get out. How do pimps recruit? Like any other predator, pimps seek out vulnerable young girls and women to manipulate and groom for the life; love is the most commonly used technique by pimps; these are the Romeo Pimps. He will make her fall in love and be the best boyfriend she ever had, shower her with gifts, gain her confidence and then isolate her from friends and family. Once she is emotionally attached, she is coerced into selling herself for money because she believes she is doing it for “them as a couple”. Because of the emotional connection, she is hesitant to see him as the predator he really is, which makes getting out of the life even more difficult.

Why is it so difficult for women and girls to escape?

Victims of sex trafficking are intensely manipulated and exploitated and are made to believe they are worthless beyond their role as a money generating commodity. Trafficked women and girls are subject to physical injuries and psychological and emotional abuse on a daily bases. Injuries such as broken bones, concussions, burns, traumatic brain injury are but a few physical issues. Among Journey Out clients, 75% suffered from mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress disorder. The journey out of such abusive and violent situations is a difficult one, especially because the women involved have often been subjected to abuse since childhood; they are truly the girls that got left behind.