Sex trafficking of minors is another term commonly used to describe commercial forms of sexual exploitation of children. The federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) defines sex trafficking of a minor as the “recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person under age 18 for the purpose of a commercial sex act.”1 A commercial sex act is “any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.”2 As explained elsewhere in this report, it is important to note that sex trafficking does not require moving or transporting a victim.


Considerable confusion exists as to the distinction between CSEC and sex trafficking of minors, and, as noted above, the two terms often are used inconsistently. As Figure A-1 illustrates, the OJJDP definition includes sex trafficking as a subset of CSEC. That usage differs from other legal definitions. Under the TVPA (as well as the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the U.N. Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which established the first internationally agreed-upon definition of human trafficking and which the United States has ratified), the crime of human trafficking is understood to have three elements: an act, means, and purpose. The act includes such steps as recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing, obtaining, or maintaining an individual. The means must be by force, fraud, or coercion. And the purpose must be for some form of exploitation, including forced labor, commercial sexual exploitation, or other forms of exploitation. When the victim is a minor, force, fraud, or coercion does not need to be established. Therefore, recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing, obtaining, or maintaining a minor for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation is sex trafficking of a minor. If one of these acts does not occur but a child is prostituted by an exploiter, that will constitute the crime of CSEC but not sex trafficking of a minor as the act requirement for trafficking is missing. If, on the other hand, one of the trafficking acts occurs for purposes of prostituting a child, that act can constitute both CSEC and sex trafficking of a minor. See Figure A-2 for an illustration of this point.

Although the committee’s task did not include endorsing a particular


122 U.S.C. img 7102(9).

222 U.S.C. img 7102(3).

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