The National Advisory Committee on the Sex Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States (the Committee) envisions a comprehensive response to the sex trafficking of children and youth where federal, state, tribal, and local efforts effectively ensure victims are identified and cared for, perpetrators are held accountable, and conditions that foster trafficking are eradicated. The Committee recognizes the importance of strengthening the nation’s response to all forms of human trafficking, although the Committee’s mission is focused on child and youth sex trafficking in accordance with the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-183).
Child and youth sex trafficking can be characterized as one of the most complex and least understood forms of child abuse. Traffickers take advantage of the societal, community, relationship, or individual vulnerabilities to exploit children and youth for monetary gain. Sex buyers exploit children and youth, providing demand and fueling the exploitation. Once trafficked, children often experience significant mental, physical, and sexual trauma due to their exploitation. A child’s victimization can last days or years but the consequences can be severe and prolonged, regardless of the duration.
To effectively address the sex trafficking of children and youth, states must adopt a comprehensive approach that prioritizes trauma-informed practices to meeting victims’ needs as well as ensuring offender accountability. This report provides a preliminary outline of recommendations for states to improve their efforts to combat the crime of child and youth sex trafficking. Regardless of a state’s current response level or model, every state can benefit from a periodic, objective assessment of their response.