Brace Fellow Trevor Lazar ’17

Lives Gamed:  The Challenges Facing Underaged Homeless Female Victims of Sex Trafficking in the United States

Screen Shot 2020-01-13 at 1.52.22 PMAs defined by the federal government, sex trafficking entails “a commercial sex act […] induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age” or “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjectation to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.”

Every year in the United States, nearly 200,000 children are victims of sex trafficking;  98 percent are female.  The commercial sex trade, often referred to as the Game or the Life by people involved, is synonymous with human trafficking and violence.  Still grappling with overarching issues of sexism and gender-based violence, American society largely struggles to confront commercial sex trade in the United States.  Trevor Lazar ’17’s research paper and presentation analyze the specific challenges facing underage homeless female victims of sex trafficking and highlight constructive measures that need to be implemented on a wider scale by law enforcement and governing bodies to address the US sex trafficking epidemic.

Faculty Advisor:  Jenny Elliot, Instructor in History


 

 

 


 

Personal Introduction

I was introduced to the field of sex trafficking intervention research through my Aunt Talia, who had done work with the STIR Office in her time at ASU. I had a lengthy phone conversation with her about the topic, and she told me about an opportunity to serve as an intern conducting research at the STIR Office. I did some outside reading, and went in for an interview for the position over Thanksgiving Break 2015. After I found out I got the job, I started looking for ways to bring my experience over the summer back to Andover. I then applied for the Brace Fellowship and was fortunate enough to be accepted into the program.

I have learned about sex trafficking in a workplace where curiosity is encouraged, enabling me to develop a deep, conscientious understanding of the issue. In being able to engage on a daily basis with a handful of experts in the field, I have been incredibly lucky to learn in such a productive and welcoming environment. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about all my coworkers at STIR, who were incredibly kind and welcoming from my very first day on the job. The support network they have built is the only way I have been able to handle such difficult subject matter so frequently.  Given this network, I have also learned a great deal about the topic at hand, which has shaped my approach to research and writing during this process.

 

Introduction

In film, the American pimp is a stereotype driven by an image of charisma and absurdity.  Donning ridiculous outfits and threatening-yet-charming personas, movie pimps are a staple of Hollywood that have become entrenched in many adults’ understanding of the sex trade. But as it does with many other worlds, Hollywood completely misunderstands the commercial sex trade.  Real pimps use deception, violence, and even romance to lure their victims into an underground world of crime and slavery, often filled with sexual assault and forced substance abuse.  The glamour of prostitution portrayed by the entertainment industry is in truth the crux of modern-day slavery in the form of sex trafficking.  As defined by the federal government, sex trafficking entails “a commercial sex act […] induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age,” or, “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.”[1]  The commercial sex trade – often referred to as the Game or the Life[2] by people involved – is synonymous with trafficking and violence, in sharp contrast to the world often portrayed on-screen.

Sex trafficking is an intersectional issue affected by all aspects of identity.  As is true in nearly all facets of life in America, marginalized and underserved groups are most likely to be trafficked.  Gender is merely one form of identity that affects youth trafficked.  Women and girls are the overwhelming majority of victims of sex trafficking due to male demand, a consequence of a multitude of cultural shortcomings, including but not limited to: sexism, hyper-masculinity, objectification of women in media, violence against women, and feelings of sexual-entitlement among men.   While these undoubtedly fuel the demand amongst men for commercial sex with women, this paper will not take an in-depth look at these specific issues.  Instead, this paper will focus on the experiences and risk factors facing underage, runaway girls who are victims of sex trafficking.  Otherwise, women and girls may be groomed[3] by finesse pimps/Romeo pimps[4] for trafficking through romantic relationships.  Similarly, underage girls are even more at risk immediately after they run away from home or become homeless.  Within 48 hours of running away from home, experts found that youth are likely to be approached by a trafficker to participate in prostitution or another form of sex trafficking.[5]  Furthermore, eliminating such a broad issue is nearly impossible given the failures of law enforcement and social services systems.

Many professionals in the field of sex trafficking intervention and prevention hypothesize that eliminating the demand amongst men for commercial sex with women and girls would almost entirely eradicate the sex trafficking industry.  And yet, even this idealized, improbable scenario does not account for pockets and subsets of marginalized groups that might still be affected.  It is important to note that these groups – such as LGBTQ+ communities, Latinx communities, Native American tribal communities, and many more – face community-specific challenges in relation to sex trafficking. Even non-marginalized social identity groups such as men face unique challenges; as with broader cases of sexual abuse, men are particularly less likely to come forward and report their abuse.  Nonetheless, women make up the most significant portion of sex trafficking victims because of the immense demand for commercial sex from men, while homeless/runaway underage girls are at a greater risk to be trafficked due to complex trauma histories exploited by traffickers, as well as failures in law enforcement and social services.  Meanwhile, initiatives such as diversion programs, safe-harbor legislation, and a growing number of non-profit organization are leading the charge against sex trafficking and providing effective support and care for survivors.

The Problem

Females make up the vast majority of victims of sex trafficking, mainly due to the immense demand amongst men for commercial sex.  Overall, women and girls constitute nearly ninety-eight percent of victims of sex trafficking, making them by far the most at-risk group to be commercially sexually exploited.[6]  A common characteristic among many female victims of sex trafficking is a history of child sexual abuse.  A number of studies suggest a percentage of anywhere from twenty to ninety percent of female prostitution victims having experienced sexual abuse of some form as a minor.[7]  In fact, the younger the victim is when first being trafficked, the more likely she is to already have encountered sexual abuse.[8]  Not only that, but the extent of that abuse is more likely to be significant the younger the victim is.[9]  This correlation is one frequently discussed among professionals working against trafficking, particularly with social services providers who examine complex trauma histories.

The most significant factor contributing to the disproportionate impact of sex trafficking on women and girls is the sheer demand for commercial sex coming from a majority male buyer pool.  In 2013, the Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research (STIR) at Arizona State University conducted a study looking to gain a sense of the volume of buyers in fifteen major US cities.  STIR, in collaboration with police departments in these respective cities, placed fake sex advertisements on the now-infamous Backpage website.  Through a model commonly used in STEM fields to determine percentages in relation to populations, STIR estimated the percentage of males in various cities calling sex advertisements.  While only 0.6% San Francisco males are estimated to call sex ads, 21.4% of males in Houston are estimated to do the same, by conservative estimates.[10]  Kansas City and Las Vegas were estimated to have similarly high percentages of 14.5% and 13.5%, respectively.[11]  Statistically, this suggests that one in five men living in Houston have called a sex advertisement at least once.  The demand is immense and alarming, and suggests an epidemic among Houston men that calls for better education around the issue of sex trafficking and the objectification and hyper-sexualization of women in general.

Underage victims of sex trafficking face a series of unique risk factors and challenges, mainly centered around their living or familial situations and trauma histories.  In the United States, it is estimated that between 245,000 and 325,000 children are considered at risk for sexual exploitation, while nearly 200,000 incidents of sexual exploitation of minors occur yearly.[12]  While this statistic is widely debated, it is especially alarming given the degree to which victims are harmed by their trafficking experiences.[13]  Both physical and mental health issues plague sex trafficking victims in general.  Furthermore, the average age range at which girls are exploited was twelve to fourteen years old in 2001, but has since decreased to eleven to thirteen.[14]  As previously discussed, the younger a victim is when first encountering commercial sexual exploitation, the more likely she is to have already experienced sexual abuse of some form.[15]  Many victims thus enter into trafficking with complex trauma histories that are not addressed by medical professionals or social workers, but rather are used by a pimp for purposes of victim manipulation.  Traffickers – particularly finesse pimps[16] – often exploit personal traumas through fraud and coercion.  Of minor victims surveyed, 64.7% stated that they were controlled with coercion or force, while 41.2% of minor victims said they were controlled through fraud.[17]  In situations where a victim has experienced a broken family or familial abuse of some form, traffickers will attempt to create an environment seemingly conducive to a family structure.

Pimps operate their stables[18] with strict rules meant to maintain control over their victims. They will often go so far as to force their victims to refer to the pimp as ‘Daddy,’ other victims as ‘Wifey,’ and the group as a ‘family.’[19]  But in order to prevent resistance against them, traffickers might forbid their victims from telling each other their real names, so as to maintain a competitive demeanor amongst their victims.  When victims violate these rules in any way, many traffickers – referred to as guerilla pimps[20] – use violence or the threat of violence to maintain psychological control.  In order to reduce resistance, pimps may use drugs or alcohol to desensitize their victims.  If the pimp can force victims to consume an illicit substance, and they develop an addiction, they can create another dependency factor to prevent rebellion or disobedience.  Overall, a survey determined that 23.5% of identified minor victims were forced to use drugs and/or alcohol.[21]  For women and girls, their prior traumatic experiences amplify the damage these dehumanizing practices cause.  Furthermore, traffickers might seek to control their victims by simply providing for their basic needs.  Control is the basis of sex trafficking operations, and there are no lengths a trafficker will not go to to maintain power.  A study found that 35% of minor victims of sex trafficking were dependent on their pimp in some way – generally for food, shelter, and money.[22]  This dependence is often amplified if the victim in question is homeless or has run away from home.

While no socioeconomic class is completely removed from the world of sex trafficking, poverty places adolescents at a higher risk for exploitation.[23]  Law enforcement, social services providers, and others involved in the fight against trafficking have found this correlation between poverty and trafficking to be accurate.[24]  Traffickers prey on the needs of poor and/or homeless youth, often leading to survival sex[25] type scenarios.  The Department of Justice estimates that 450,000 children run away from home yearly, and one-third of runaways are approached by a pimp within 48 hours.[26]  With such a high rate of exposure, and given the well-documented tactics used by traffickers to groom[27] victims for commercial sexual exploitation, this renders minors highly at risk to be trafficked.  In a July 2014 study, STIR found that 25.6% of homeless youth surveyed had experienced commercial sexual exploitation.[28]  STIR also found that “childhood sexual abuse is a salient risk factor for running away and becoming homeless.”  As is true with youth victims of sex trafficking in general, severe domestic, familial, or sexual abuse trauma is directly related to homelessness.  The stories of homeless girls subjected to commercial sexual exploitation are truly horrifying, and often grounded in the manipulation of a child by an adult through avenues such as housing and financial support.

For instance, In 2002 a fourteen-year-old girl ran away from home in New York City.[29]  She ran because her cousin had been repeatedly sexually assaulting her, so she ran in a desperate attempt to escape her assailant.  Ann (a name chosen to hide her identity) soon accepted an offer to live with an adult man, as she had nowhere else to go.  After a short period of time, this man became physically abusive and forced her into prostitution, maintaining control through violence and by taking her nightly earnings.  Even in a situation in which she felt she had no choice but to run away, she ended up experiencing horrible domestic violence and commercial sexual exploitation of a minor.  She chose to try and escape her horrible home life of repeated sexual assault, and ended up being beaten and trafficked by the person who offered her help.  She eventually escaped and is now an independent adult, but remained in captivity for years.  Her trafficker was never apprehended by law enforcement.

In a follow-up to its 2014 study on the sex trafficking of homeless/runaway youth in America, STIR concluded, “While homeless young adults face a myriad of health, mental health and childhood trauma histories, sex trafficked homeless young adults emerged in this study as having uniquely problematic experiences.”[30]  Ultimately, many minors like Ann go from one horrible situation to an even worse one.  For adults, they are far less likely to receive treatment or care as opposed to prostitution charges and jail time.  For minors, by law, they are treated as victims, and thus avoid criminal charges.  And yet, just because a victim was trafficked as a minor does not mean she will receive proper care or treated as a victim.  If a victim is kidnapped at age thirteen, trafficked for five years, and arrested on her eighteenth birthday, she will be treated and charged as an adult.  This creates serious legal issues for women who were victimized as a minor and as an adult, and overlooks serious child trauma that many victims experience.

For Ann, one might think that her best way to avoid the risk of being trafficked altogether would be to go to the police.  And yet, even with police departments in the public eye today like never before, misconduct is still commonplace and even rampant in some cases.  In June 2016, the Oakland Police Department underwent a massive scandal for its involvement in the trafficking of a minor.  At age seventeen, Celeste Guap was trafficked, until she was arrested by an Oakland police officer.[31]  Instead of directing Guap to the appropriate support resources, the officer paid her for sex and eventually introduced her to other officers.[32]  These officers either paid her for sex or tipped her off to upcoming stings, so as to help her avoid arrest.[33]  The officer who Guap first encountered, Brendan O’Brien, committed suicide in September 2015.[34]  The suicide note he left revealed the misconduct and his involvement, after which Guap came forward with her story.[35]  By this time she was eighteen, and there were twenty-eight officers from all over the Bay Area in Northern California involved.[36]  These officers could potentially face sex trafficking charges.  Meanwhile, Oakland Police Department cycled through three police chiefs in a matter of nine days due to the fallout in the media and the implication of various officers’ involvement.[37]  While law enforcement agencies like Oakland Police Department have been criticized and undergone structural upheaval due to misconduct, shortcomings in the treatment and servicing of sex trafficking victims are still evident in the United States.

The most alarming factor in the ineptitude of state-level social services is the apparent inability of many social workers to identify or treat underage victims of commercial sexual exploitation.  Among social services providers working with at-risk youth in Kentucky, a study found that nearly 30% of respondents did not consider commercial sexual exploitation of children to be a serious issue, and in rural communities the same was true for nearly 50% of respondents.[38]  With trafficked minors thus given a one-in-three chance of receiving counsel from someone unaware of the sheer prevalence of sex trafficking in their own community, they are less likely to receive the treatment and support they need.  Even more alarming is the prospect of a service provider not realizing that a client is in fact a victim of sex trafficking.  These concerns are reflected in police departments across the country, which prompted the Department of Justice to create training for law enforcement surrounding minor victims of sex trafficking.[39]  These curriculums are gradually improving police practice, although toxic police cultures in places like Oakland persist.  In the same way that training has been created for police officers surrounding commercial sexual exploitation of children, so too should a federal training be created for state social workers and service providers.

Effective Responses

Diversion programs for arrested buyers is the most effective response to male demand for commercial sex with women and girls.  In Phoenix, Arizona, Catholic Charities worked with the City of Phoenix Prosecutor’s Office to design a one-day diversion program – the Offender Program for Persons Who Solicit (OPPS) – as an alternative to criminal charges for solicitation of prostitution.  STIR conducted a study to determine the impact over four years of the diversion program on buyers – all male and eighteen-years-of-age or greater[40] – and the city’s financial standpoint, and found overwhelmingly positive results.  For one, the diversion program saved the City of Phoenix over $2.5 million in jail costs, while simultaneously showing through a pre-survey and post-survey a significant positive change in the attitudes and beliefs and participants.[41]  In Phoenix, none of the 422 men who took part in the program study were re-arrested for solicitation of prostitution or similar sexual crimes. The success of this program is an encouraging indicator of the prospect of comprehensive societal change through diversion and education as opposed to simply charging buyers criminally and having them learn nothing.  Similar care and recovery oriented programs exist for victims of sex trafficking arrested initially on prostitution charges, although they are much more commonplace for minor victims.  Professionals in the field of sex trafficking intervention acknowledge diversion programs as the most effective way to educate and support those arrested for soliciting prostitution and prostitution, respectively.

For minor victims of sex trafficking who are arrested, the best legislation for treatment and care is undeniably safe harbor policy.  Safe harbor policy operates on four core principles: “(1) Decriminalizing prostitution for anyone under a specific age; (2) Diverting victim minors from delinquency proceedings toward support services; (3) Providing specialized services for minor victims; (4) Reclassifying prostituted minors as victims or sexually exploited children […].”[42]  Comprehensive and up-to-date, safe harbor legislation classifies and treats victims properly: as victims.  It also addresses toxic police culture, which often leads to officers treating minor victims like criminals.[43]  Safe harbor is designed to be victim-centered, providing support services and medical care as needed.  Given the permanent damage that sexual abuse, sexual assault, and assault (all of which are directly correlated to sex trafficking) can leave on victims, safe harbor provides extensive medical care and counseling.[44]  Of minor victims of commercial sexual exploitation surveyed, 52.6% contracted STI’s, while 38.5% were diagnosed with some form of mental disorder.[45]  Treating and caring for victims medically is a drastic improvement over the criminal treatment they would otherwise face on prostitution charges.

Beyond the realm of law enforcement and legislation, there are a number of organizations and non-profits working to support victims/survivors and eradicate sex trafficking.  Organizations like GEMS[46] (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services) provide a vast array of services and mentoring to sexually exploited girls and young women. Additionally, GEMS takes a holistic approach to education and mentoring, accounting for any and all aspects of identity affecting girls and women.  Others, such as Freedom a la Cart[47] aim to bridge the gap between recovery and employment.  What started out as a single food cart in Columbus, Ohio has since grown into a full catering service, one run by and for survivors of sex trafficking.  CAASE,[48] or the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, provides support and recovery services to victims and survivors, but simultaneously takes a policy-based approach to combatting sex trafficking.  Based in Chicago, Illinois, CAASE is one of the most renowned domestic organizations working today in the anti-trafficking world.

Conclusion

In the world of sex trafficking, runaway minor girls are the most likely to fall victim to sex trafficking.  Females in particular make up the vast majority of victims of sex trafficking, due to the immense demand for commercial sex from men.  Young girls’ risks are amplified, as childhood trauma and a lack of independence can lead to incredibly horrible trafficking scenarios.  And when a minor girl runs away from home or becomes homeless in the United States, she is vastly more likely to encounter traffickers and be forced, tricked, or coerced into selling sex for a trafficker’s profit.  With conscientious changes to law enforcement policy through diversion and safe-harbor and improved social worker training – along with the support of academic institutions and non-profits – the United States has the power to eliminate a significant amount of sex trafficking within its borders.

Footnotes

[1] “22 U.S. Code § 7102 – Definitions.” LII / Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School, n.d. Web.

[2] see Glossary for definition

[3] see Glossary for definition

[4] see Glossary for definition

[5] Clawson, Heather J., Nicole Dutch, Amy Solomon, and Lisa Goldblatt Grace. Human Trafficking into and Within the United States: A Review of the Literature. Rep. United States Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, 30 Aug. 2009. Web.

[6] “Global Sex Trafficking Fact Sheet.” Equality Now. Equality Now, 17 Aug. 2011. Web.

[7] Clawson, Heather J., Nicole Dutch, Amy Solomon, and Lisa Goldblatt Grace. Human Trafficking Into and Within the United States: A Review of the Literature. Rep. United States Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, 30 Aug. 2009. Web.

[8] Clawson, Heather J., Nicole Dutch, Amy Solomon, and Lisa Goldblatt Grace.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Roe-Sepowitz, Dominique, MSW, Ph.D., STIR Director, Kristine Hickle, MSW, STIR Associate Director of Research Development, James Gallagher, M.Admin, STIR Associate Director of Research Innovation, Lieutenant, Vice Enforcement Unit, Phoenix Police Department, Jessica Smith, MA, STIR Project Coordinator, Eric Hedberg, Ph.D., Arizona State University, Faculty Associate, and Research Team from the Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research (STIR). Invisible Offenders: A Study Estimating Online Sex Customers. Research Report. Phoenix, AZ: Arizona State U, 2013. Print.

[11] Roe-Sepowitz, Dominique, MSW, Ph.D., STIR Director, Kristine Hickle, MSW, STIR Associate Director of Research Development, James Gallagher, M.Admin, STIR Associate Director of Research Innovation, Lieutenant, Vice Enforcement Unit, Phoenix Police Department, Jessica Smith, MA, STIR Project Coordinator, Eric Hedberg, Ph.D., Arizona State University, Faculty Associate, and Research Team from the Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research (STIR).

[12] Clawson, Heather J., Nicole Dutch, Amy Solomon, and Lisa Goldblatt Grace. Human Trafficking Into and Within the United States: A Review of the Literature. Rep. United States Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, 30 Aug. 2009. Web.

[13] National Research Council, Institute of Medicine, and Board on Children, Youth, and Families. “Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States.” Washington, US: National Academies Press, 2014. 41. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 14 June 2016.

[14] Clawson, Heather J., Nicole Dutch, Amy Solomon, and Lisa Goldblatt Grace. Human Trafficking into and Within the United States: A Review of the Literature. Rep. United States Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, 30 Aug. 2009. Web.

[15] Clawson, Heather J., Nicole Dutch, Amy Solomon, and Lisa Goldblatt Grace.

[16] see Glossary for definition

[17] Cole, Jennifer, and Ginny Sprang. “Sex Trafficking of Minors in Metropolitan, Micropolitan, and Rural Communities.” Child Abuse & Neglect 40 (2015): 118. ScienceDirect. Web.

[18] see Glossary for definitions

[19] see Glossary for definitions

[20] see Glossary for definition

[21] Cole, Jennifer, and Ginny Sprang. “Sex Trafficking of Minors in Metropolitan, Micropolitan, and Rural Communities.” Child Abuse & Neglect 40 (2015): 118. ScienceDirect. Web.

[22] Cole, Jennifer, and Ginny Sprang. 118.

[23] Clawson, Heather J., Nicole Dutch, Amy Solomon, and Lisa Goldblatt Grace. Human Trafficking into and Within the United States: A Review of the Literature. Rep. United States Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, 30 Aug. 2009. Web.

[24] Clawson, Heather J., Nicole Dutch, Amy Solomon, and Lisa Goldblatt Grace.

[25] see Glossary for definition

[26] Gogolak, E. C. “Stubborn Cycle of Runaways Becoming Prostitutes.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 15 Sept. 2013. Web.

[27] see Glossary for definition

[28] Roe-Sepowitz, Dominique, MSW, Ph.D., Kristen Bracy, MA, Jennifer Cunningham, Robert Beverly, Cynthia Van Kleeck, MSW, Kristine Hickle, MSW, Ph.D., Lindsey Cantelme, MSW, Kenneth McKinley, Cynthia Schuler, Paula Atkins, Laurie Mazerbo, LCSW, Alexander Hawman, MPA, and Stacey Jay Cavaliere. Youth Experiences Survey: Exploring the Sex Trafficking Experiences of Arizona’s Homeless and Runaway Young Adults. Rep. Phoenix, AZ: Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research, ASU School of Social Work, 2014. Print.

[29] Gogolak, E. C. “Stubborn Cycle of Runaways Becoming Prostitutes.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 15 Sept. 2013. Web.

[30] Roe-Sepowitz, Dominique, MSW, Ph.D., Melissa Brockie, MSW, Kristen Bracy, MA, and Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research, Arizona State University. Youth Experiences Survey: Exploring the Sex Trafficking Experiences of Homeless Young Adults in Arizona. Rep. Phoenix, AZ: Arizona State U, 2015. Print.

[31] Sidner, Sara, and Madison Park. “Officers Reassigned over Bay Area Police Sex Scandal.” CNN. Cable News Network, 3 July 2016. Web.

[32] Sidner and Park.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Neyfakh, Leon. “What in the Name of the Bay Bridge Is Going on at the Oakland Police Department?” Slate Magazine. The Slate Group, 29 June 2016. Web.

[35] Neyfakh.

[36] Sidner, Sara, and Madison Park. “Officers Reassigned over Bay Area Police Sex Scandal.” CNN. Cable News Network, 3 July 2016. Web.

[37] Sidner and Park.

[38] Cole, Jennifer, and Ginny Sprang. “Sex Trafficking of Minors in Metropolitan, Micropolitan, and Rural Communities.” Child Abuse & Neglect 40 (2015): 117. ScienceDirect. Web.

[39] Finklea, Kristin. Rep. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Juvenile Victims of Domestic Sex Trafficking: Juvenile

Justice Issues. Congressional Research Service, 5 Aug. 2014. Web.

[40] Roe-Sepowitz, Dominique, Laura Massengale, Kristen Bracy, Cathy Bauer, and Martha Perez-Loubert. Offender Program for Persons Who Solicit. Program Evaluation. Phoenix, AZ: Arizona State University, 2014. Print.

[41] Roe-Sepowitz, Dominique, Laura Massengale, Kristen Bracy, Cathy Bauer, and Martha Perez-Loubert.

[42] Mehlman-Orozco, Kimberly. “Safe Harbor Policies for Juvenile Victims of Sex Trafficking: A Myopic View of Improvements in Practice.” Social Inclusion 3.1 (2015): 53. Cogitatio. Web.

[43] Mehlman-Orozco, Kimberly. 55.

[44] Varma, Selina, Scott Gillespie, Courtney Mccracken, and V. Jordan Greenbaum. “Characteristics of Child Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking Victims Presenting for Medical Care in the United States.” Child Abuse & Neglect 44 (2015): 102. ScienceDirect. Web.

[45] Varma, Selina, Scott Gillespie, Courtney Mccracken, and V. Jordan Greenbaum. 102.

[46] “GEMS: Girls Educational & Mentoring Services.” Girls Educational Mentoring Service GEMS RSS. N.p., n.d. Web.

[47] “Freedom a La Cart.” Freedom a La Cart. N.p., n.d. Web.

[48] “Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation.” Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. N.p., n.d. Web.

[49] Smith, Linda Tuhiwai, and Cindy Coloma. “Glossary of Terms.” Renting Lacy: A Story of America’s Prostituted Children. Vancouver, WA: Shared Hope International, 2009. Xvii-xi. Print.

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Glossary

Definitions are taken from Renting Lacy.[49]

  • Bottom (sometimes called bottom bitch, bottom ho, bottom girl) – one girl, among several controlled by a single pimp, appointed by him to supervise the others, reports rule violations, and sometimes even helps inflict punishment on them.
  • Choosing up – the process by which a different pimp takes ‘ownership’ of a victim. Choosing up actually occurs simply by making eye contact with another pimp (which is why eye contact with other pimps is strictly prohibited). If the original pimp wants the victim back, he must pay a fee to the new pimp. It’s the victim, however, who is then required to ‘work’ to pay restitution to her original pimp. And usually the debt is increased – as a penalty for the disrespect of the original pimp that ‘choosing up’ represents.”
  • Circuit (or Track) – a set area known for prostitution activity. This can be a local term: the area around a group of strip clubs and pornography stores, or a particular stretch of street. Or it can be a series of cities among which prostituted people are moved […] The term can also refer to a chain of states […] by which victims are moved through a series of locations from [one state] to markets in [another state].”
  • Daddy – what pimps require their victims to call them.”
  • Date – the exchange when prostitution takes place, or the activity of prostitution. A victim is said to be ‘with a date’ or ‘dating.’”
  • Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) – DMST is the commercial sexual exploitation of American children within U.S. borders. It is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act where the person is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident under the age of 18 years.”
  • Escort Service – an organization, operating chiefly via cell phone and increasingly the Internet, which sends a victim to a buyer’s location (an ‘outcall’) or arranges for the buyer to come to a house or apartment (an ‘in-call’); this may be the workplace of a single woman or actually a small brothel. Some escort services are networked with others and can assemble large numbers of women for parties and conventions. Some serve those with fetishes, such as sex with children or sadomasochism.”
  • Facilitator – any business or person allowing a trafficker/pimp to carry out his exploitations. These facilitators – taxi drivers, hotel owners, newspapers where girls are advertised – work in direct and indirect partnerships with pimps and enable the commercial sexual exploitation of children.”
  • Family or Folk – a group of people under the control of one pimp; he plays the role of father or “Daddy.” This idea can be extremely complicated psychologically for a victim who has never had a supportive family.”
  • Finesse Pimp/Romeo Pimp – one who prides himself on controlling others primarily through psychological manipulation [or even romance]. Even in such cases, however, the threat of violence is always present.”
  • The Game/The Life – the subculture of prostitution. ‘The game’ functions as a fully formed subculture, complete with established rules, hierarchy, and language. People who do not actively participate in ‘the game’ are viewed as not understanding how it works nor understanding the people involved in it. The victim is said to be ‘in the life.’”
  • Gorilla (or Guerilla) Pimp – one who controls his victims almost entirely through violence.”
  • John or Buyer – a person paying another for sexual gratification, control, and/or domination. The term ‘john’ comes from the alias often used by customers in order to remain anonymous. The john drives the entire system. Without a buyer, there wouldn’t be a seller and there wouldn’t be a victim. The demand for commercial sexual services fuels the problem of domestic minor sex trafficking. Victims of domestic minor sex trafficking are forced to sell their bodies to meet this demand.”
  • Quota – a set amount of money that a trafficked girl must make each night before she can come ‘home.’ Quotas are often set between $300 and $2,000. If the child returns without meeting the quota, she is typically beaten or sent back out.”
  • Seasoning [or grooming] – a combination of psychological manipulation, intimidation, gang rape, sodomy, beatings, deprivation of food or sleep, isolation from family, friends, and other sources of support, and threatening or holding hostage of a victim’s children. Seasoning is designed to totally break down a victim’s children. Seasoning is designed to totally break down a victim’s resistance and ensure that she will do anything she is told.”
  • Sister Wife, Sister-in-Law, Wife-in-Law, Stable Sister [or Wifey] – what women in a pimp’s ‘stable’ call each other.”
  • Stable – a group of victims under the control of a single pimp. (The choice of a farming word is worse than ironic, in that pimps indeed treat their victims like animals.)”
  • Survival Sex – a situation involving a homeless youth who trades a sex act with an adult in exchange for basic needs such as shelter, food, etc. Knowing that homeless youth are unable to work legally and provide for themselves, sexual predators commonly target them, taking advantage of their vulnerability. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) defines a ‘victim’ of sex trafficking as any child under the age of 18 and involved in a commercial sex act where money or something of value is given to or received by any person. Accordingly, ‘survival sex’ actually qualifies as domestic minor sex trafficking.”
  • Trade Up, Trade Down – to move a victim like merchandise, Pimps are quick to get rid of victims who cause problems, or who no longer match the profile sought by the clientele that the pimp serves. A pimp may trade straight across or trade with some exchange of money, or trade one victim in return for two or more other victims. The sale price for a victim is usually $2,500 to $3,500. The victims can be moved long distances rapidly – with a guard, overnight, and/or by air.”
  • Trafficker/Pimp – anyone who receives money or something value for the sexual exploitation of another person.”
  • Trick – the act of prostitution/ also the person buying it. A victim is said to be ‘turning a trick’ or ‘with a trick.’”
  • Turn Out – to be forced into prostitution/ also a person newly involved in prostitution.”