Sex Trafficking is Human Trafficking
As I prepared for this assignment I wanted to research the subject matter of Human Trafficking, I believed this was an international issue that would prepare me for working with issues in third world countries. Instead I was confronted with the realization that this occurs not only in the United States, but in my own state of Wisconsin. The issue at hand, sexual trafficking of minors occurring every day and our role as therapists within this traumatic realm.
Experts estimate that nearly 300,000 children are at risk of sexual exploitation in the environment of prostitution every year. Youth who are homeless, neglected, abused by their family members, and runaways are the target of “pimps” who bring them into the world of prostitution, drug abuse, and further physical and mental abuse.
United Stated Federal Law states that prostitution is a form of human trafficking, and yet many states do not offer legal protection for minors who are victimized, but rather treat our youth as criminals bringing further trauma to them. (PolarisProject.org)
Summary of the Case:
A landmark legal case took place in 2010 in the state of Texas when a Supreme Court ruling was handed down that children in prostitution are victims, not criminals and that child victims of prostitution should be provided counsel, rehabilitation, and treatment services. A child victim should not be placed in a detention system.
This ruling stemmed from an incident of a 13 year old girl who consented to sex when she flagged down an undercover police officer and offered to engage in oral sex for twenty dollars and was arrested for prostitution. The trial (Family Court) found her guilty of a Class B misdemeanor of prostitution and was sentenced to 18 months of probation. Later, the court of appeals upheld the previous judgment. However, when presented to the Texas Supreme Court, the case was reversed