FALSE – Child Sex Trafficking (CST) doesn’t happen in the United States, it only happens in other countries.
THE TRUTH: Human trafficking of all ages and genders exists in every country, including the United States. It is a global and national issue. It occurs in cities, suburbs, and rural towns—and possibly in your own community. The top 3 states for reported cases are California, Texas and Florida.
FALSE – Victims are often abducted from home, school or public places.
THE TRUTH: More than 80% of children are abused and/or trafficked by someone they know and trust.
FALSE – CST victims are only foreign born nationals and those who are poor or from dependent communities
THE TRUTH: Human trafficking victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. They may come from any socioeconomic group. Predators and abusers have no discrimination in targeting their victims.
FALSE – Teens involved in prostitution/escort services, have made that choice themselves and are participating as criminals.
THE TRUTH: Under U.S. federal law, any minor under the age of 18 who is induced to perform commercial sex acts is a victim of human trafficking, regardless of whether he or she is forced or coerced. Victims of trafficking are lured into prostitution through some form of trickery. Stockholm Syndrome occurs after the victim has been manipulated by her trafficker/abuser and at that time cannot clearly distinguish herself as a victim because of a false emotional attachment to her abuser.
FALSE – Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling are the same thing.
THE TRUTH – Human trafficking is not the same as smuggling. “Trafficking” is based on exploitation and does not require movement across borders. “Smuggling” is based on movement and involves moving a person across a country’s border with that person’s consent in violation of immigration laws. Although human smuggling is very different from human trafficking, human smuggling can turn into trafficking if the smuggler uses force, fraud, or coercion to hold people against their will for the purposes of labor or sexual exploitation. Under federal law, every minor induced to engage in commercial sex is a victim of human trafficking.
FALSE – Trafficking and/or sexual abuse victims will attempt to seek help when in public or offered a chance to escape.
THE TRUTH – Human trafficking is often a hidden crime. Victims may be afraid to come forward and get help; they may be forced or coerced through threats or violence; they may fear retribution from traffickers, including danger to their families; and they may not be in possession of or have control of their identification documents.