evaluated, so the committee does not intend to imply that it is endorsing these approaches. In addition, this is not meant to be an exhaustive review of commercial-sector involvement. The goals of the chapter are to identify ways in which the commercial sector contributes to commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors and to illustrate potential opportunities to leverage its resources, expertise, and position to prevent, identify, and respond to these crimes.
The chapter starts with a brief discussion of some of the ways in which commercial-sector entities facilitate commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors. It then reviews selected initiatives by commercial-sector entities to contribute to and support efforts to prevent, identify, and respond to these crimes. Next, the chapter examines the role the law can play in fostering such positive contributions by commercial-sector entities. The final section presents findings and conclusions.
THE COMMERCIAL SECTOR’S
CONTRIBUTION TO THE PROBLEM
In many ways, the functioning of the “market” for commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of children and adolescents is like that of other legal and illegal markets: when and where demand for a product or service exists, a market will emerge to respond. Because there is demand for commercial sex with young persons, including minors, individuals and criminal organizations have found ways to sexually exploit children and adolescents for profit. The committee acknowledges that readers may find this explanation to be both oversimplified and objectionable (i.e., the “product” or “service” in question is sex with a minor). The committee also recognizes that the root causes of demand may differ for children and adolescents of different ages, and as noted in Chapter 3, further research is needed to understand demand better. However, the committee believes that considering commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors in this way can advance public understanding of the commerce of human trafficking. Further, this explanation underscores how the commercial sector can both contribute to and inhibit the commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors.
Commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors are profitable endeavors. A number of sources suggest that human trafficking (for sex or labor) generates billions of dollars worldwide each year and is a rapidly growing criminal enterprise (Belser, 2005; Kara, 2011; Small et al., 2008; U.S. Department of State, 2005). While exact figures are difficult to discern and are an area in which consensus is lacking (see, e.g., Jordan and Burke, 2011), human trafficking, like drug and arms trafficking, can be a lucrative criminal activity. According to a recent report by the Federal