New York Human Trafficking Lawyers
Keeping Children Safe
According to United States Federal Law (22 USC § 7102), sex trafficking is “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.”
In sex-trafficking cases where the victim has not reached the age of 18, it is not necessary to demonstrate force, fraud, or coercion.
Although online sex traffickers are known to target children from every socioeconomic background, some children are more vulnerable than others. Traffickers typically target children who:
- Seem to spend a lot of time alone and unsupervised
- Appear depressed, anxious, or lonely
- Seem emotionally isolated from friends and family
- Have low self-worth or diminished self-esteem
- Are victims of domestic violence and abuse
- Have run away from home, or are homeless
- Are refugees of war or conflict
- Have experienced consistent socioeconomic discrimination
While teens between the ages of 12 and 19 are the most common targets of online sex traffickers, some victims have been much younger than that.
According to investigative journalist Amy Fine Collins of Vanity Fair magazine, “It’s become more lucrative and much safer to sell malleable teens than drugs or guns. A pound of heroin or an AK-47 can be retailed once, but a young girl can be sold 10 to 15 times a day—and a ‘righteous’ pimp confiscates 100 percent of her earnings.”
What Are The Signs of Sex Trafficking?
The most important thing you can do to prevent child sex trafficking is to educate yourself on the signs. By understanding how a child sex trafficking victim might appear or behave, you could potentially save someone’s life. According to a report from the New York State Attorney General, these are the most common ways to recognize a victim of sex trafficking:
- A victim avoids eye contact
- A victim may sometimes have distinctive brands, scars, or tattoos
- A victim is paranoid or fearful of law enforcement officers
- A victim does not have control of their own money
- A victim’s communication with others is restricted or controlled
- A victim is not allowed to travel or leave working conditions alone
- A victim exhibits fear, anxiety, depression, submission, tension, and/or nervousness
- A victim has bruising, frequent injuries, poor health, and/or appears malnourished
- A victim seems to be extremely young, or under the age of eighteen
If you suspect that someone you have interacted with is the victim of child sex trafficking, you need to take immediate action by contacting your local law enforcement officials as soon as possible.
How Do Online Child Sex Traffickers Lure Their Victims?
In many cases, online child sex traffickers will lure children into their traps by using many of the same tactics that child sexual abusers use. These tactics include:
- Gaining the trust and favor of the victim by showering them with love and affection
- Making false promises to the victim, such as ensuring them of a better life, more money, or better opportunities
- Isolating the victim from friends and family
- Emotionally manipulating and shaming the victim into doing things they would not normally do
- Convincing the victim to keep the relationship hidden from friends and family
- Pressuring the victim into meeting up in-person, alone
Unfortunately, the increasing use of social media sites by children makes finding targets easy for online sex traffickers. According to a report from the San Diego County News Center, “Finding girls is easy for pimps. They look on MySpace, Facebook, and other social networks. They and their assistants cruise malls, high schools and middle schools. They pick them up at bus stops. On the trolley. Girl-to-girl recruitment sometimes happens.”
In multiple investigations conducted by national child advocacy groups, researchers estimate that over 100,000 children in the United States are being exploited within sex trafficking rings every year. Even more disturbing is the fact that younger and younger children are becoming victims of sex trafficking each year.
According to an account from a 25-year-old victim of sex trafficking, “For every ten women rescued, there are 50 to 100 more women who are brought in by the traffickers. Unfortunately, they’re not 18 or 20-year-olds anymore. They’re minors as young as 13 who are being trafficked . . . They’re little girls.”
Getting Help With Your Child Sex Trafficking Abuse Case
If you or someone you love has been forced to cope with the physical, emotional, and financial impact of child sex trafficking abuse, you have every right to feel angry, sad, frightened, and overwhelmed. No child should have to face the horrors of sexual abuse day in and day out, just because they are in one of the most vulnerable positions of their life.
At Hach & Rose, LLP our compassionate team of attorneys wants you to know that you have every right to pursue legal action against your abuser, as well as every single party that enabled your abuser’s heinous acts.
While we know that no amount of financial compensation could ever make up for a child’s stolen innocence, our dedicated team of attorneys will do everything in their power to pursue justice on your behalf. Even if your abuse took place years ago, and you believe you can no longer pursue legal action, you may still have a strong case under New York’s Child Victims Act.
To discuss your rights and legal options, call our office at (212) 779-0057 now to schedule a free, confidential consultation.