Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC?)
Commercially sexually exploited children are minors involved in the sex industry. They are not of age to consent and thus, whether participation is “voluntary” or involuntary, it is considered human trafficking, according to the Trafficking Victim Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), which is federal law. Victims of trafficking are not necessarily transported across international or even state borders, rather, they are individuals who engage in sexual acts or labor by force, fraud or coercion in exchange for money, goods or services.
Who are the traffickers?
Traffickers can look like anyone. They can be family members, older boyfriends/girlfriends, family friends, friends, or strangers. About 1 out of 3 trafficking victims in Shreveport, Louisiana were trafficked by their family members (Community Response Team, 2016).
What does CSEC look like in Northwest Louisiana?
State-wide: The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) conducted a study in 2015 on human trafficking. They identified 206 victims of trafficking in the state of Louisiana. Over 100 of those victims were children who were commercially sexually exploited.
Local: In Shreveport, the local multidisciplinary team called the Community Response Team identified over 30 confirmed cases of child sex trafficking from 2014-2016 and identified over 65 children who were at high risk for trafficking. About 1 out of 3 trafficking victims in Shreveport, Louisiana were trafficked by their family members (Community Response Team, 2016). Most of trafficking in this area occurs through an older boyfriend who grooms and then exploits the younger partner. Shreveport also has trafficking of girls, women, boys, men, and LGBTQ children and adults.
National Recognition: Louisiana was rated the best score in the nation for anti-human trafficking legislation for two years in a row, 2015 and 2016 by Shared Hope International. The efforts of local team have been recognized nationally, with Caddo Parish Juvenile Services winning the National Association of County Officials award in 2016 for their juvenile sex trafficking probation unit and multidisciplinary team work. Caddo Parish Juvenile Services also trained at Shared Hope’s National Juvenile Sex Trafficking Conference in 2016.
Who is at risk for CSEC?
Any child can be brought into the sex industry; however, traffickers prey on vulnerabilities. Children involved in foster care, those with histories of runaways, and those with histories of childhood sexual abuse are at great risk for trafficking. Children in the LGBTQ community are also at risk due to a desire for a sense of belonging. Traffickers are experts in power and control and often utilize a combination of psychological, physical and sexual abuse to keep their victims from leaving. Traffickers are often older than their child victims, further exacerbating the power dynamics. According to research from the FBI, over 70% of traffickers meet the criteria for sociopathy.
What are the red flags of CSEC?