Revisiting the U.S. Policy Response to the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Charles Hounmenou, PhD | September 21 | 11:30 AM-12:30 PM | Room 2591

Topic: Legal | Knowledge Level: Intermediate, Advanced

Awareness about the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in the United States has increased during the last ten years. This increase reflects the U.S. government’s considerable efforts to address the problem of human trafficking through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and its subsequent reauthorizations and recent laws including the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014, and the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) of 2015. While for a long time the federal trafficking policy has primarily prioritized international victims, recent research has shown that most victims of sex trafficking are US-born children. Addressing the needs of the latter group continues to be a major challenge for the implementation of the federal trafficking policy. This presentation systematically critiques the policy and service responses to CSEC in general, and especially domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) in the United States. Following an analysis of the characteristics and needs of CSEC victims, the presentation examines the key legislation and programs that the U.S. government has been implementing since 2000 to address the problem of CSEC. The presenter will discuss the availability and suitability of services for DMST victims and identifies challenges in service delivery. Finally, implications for practice, policy, and research are discussed.

Presentation Objectives:

·  Provide an update on the key federal policies and programs regarding CSEC.

·  Highlight key issues in the service provision regarding DMST.

·  Provide recommendations for adequate responses to DMST.

About the Presenter