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Until Every Child Is Free From Trafficking

Key Facts and Data About Child Sex Trafficking

  • The United Nations and U.S. Department of State define child sex trafficking as “modern slavery”.
  • The U.S. Department of State further defines child sex trafficking as “any child (under the age of 18) who has been recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, advertised, maintained, patronized, or solicited to engage in a commercial sex act is a victim of human trafficking regardless of whether or not force, fraud, or coercion is used.”
  • The U.S. Department of Justice states that: “Victims frequently fall prey to traffickers who lure them in with an offer of food, clothes, attention, friendship, love, and a seemingly safe place to sleep. After cultivating a relationship with the child and engendering a false sense of trust, the trafficker will begin engaging the child in prostitution, and use physical, emotional, and psychological abuse to keep the child trapped in a life of prostitution.”
  • A 2018 peer-reviewed study found that the most commonly recorded diagnoses for trafficked children were post-traumatic stress disorder (22%) and affective disorders (22%), while documenting a high prevalence of physical violence (53%) and sexual violence (49%).
  • According to National Human Trafficking Hotline data, Maryland has one of the highest rates of “domestic human trafficking in the nation”, including child sex trafficking.
  • A June 2018 report from the University of Maryland School of Social Work (UMSSW) found that more than 440 reports of child sex trafficking were reported from state fiscal year 2014 and 2018 to local departments of social services across Maryland, involving 375 alleged minor victims.
  • The same UMSSW report found that approximately 93 percent of victims were female, 87 percent were between the ages of 14-17 and slightly more than half were black.
  • The UMSSW also found that the intersection of a major seaport, international airports and interstate highways used to transport children, along with the concentration of gambling facilities and lack of public awareness about trafficking, are among the many reasons why the state is a national hotspot for the enslavement of minors.
  • Under Maryland law, a minor can be charged with prostitution, despite being unable to legally consent to a sexual act.
  • According to a 2019 study co-authored by Jessica Emerson, director of the Human Trafficking Prevention Project at the University of Baltimore School of Law, Maryland ranks last among 40 states and the District of Columbia in easing the way for survivors of child sex trafficking to clear their criminal records. (The remaining 10 states were not ranked because they either had no criminal records relief laws for survivors or only laws for minor victims.)