Due to the wide variation in state legislation and the failure of
Congress to re-enact the TVPA, it is essential for states to pass
human trafficking laws that are similar to one another and to current
federal law in order to prevent the movement of trafficking crimes to
lenient states or tribal land.11 Implementation of a uniform law across
all states that similarly punishes traffickers, provides the necessary
services to victims, and appropriately deters demand would eliminate
ineffective statutory schemes and offer the greatest protection
The prevalence of commercial sexual exploitation12 of
children in the United States highlights the importance of legislation
on the issue of human trafficking.13 The sexual exploitation of
children in our country is often an overlooked facet of human
trafficking. Despite the classification of commercial sexual
exploitation of children as a form of human trafficking under federal
law, many states have failed to follow the federal example and still
do not provide the appropriate protections and services for victimized
children.14 Though the TVPA considers minors induced to perform
commercial sex to be victims regardless of circumstance, as of
December 2011, only eight states had passed laws consistent with
11 See PROTECTED INNOCENCE CHALLENGE, supra note 5, at 27.
12 “Commercial sexual exploitation” hereinafter encompasses various mediums of
the commercial sex industry used for sexual exploitation of children, including but
not limited to street prostitution, strip clubs, brothels, and pornography.
Commercial sexual exploitation is also referred to as domestic minor sex
trafficking. See LINDA A. SMITH ET AL., SHARED HOPE INT’L, THE NATIONAL
REPORT ON DOMESTIC MINOR SEX TRAFFICKING: AMERICA’S PROSTITUTED
CHILDREN 4 (2009), http://sharedhope.org/wp-
that “[c]hildren can be commercially sexually exploited through prostitution,
pornography, and/or erotic entertainment”).
13 See id. at iv (defining domestic minor sex trafficking as “child sex slavery, child
sex trafficking, prostitution of children, commercial sexual exploitation (CSEC),
and rape of a child”).
14 POLARIS PROJECT, HUMAN TRAFFICKING LEGISLATIVE ISSUE BRIEF: SEX
TRAFFICKING OF MINORS AND “SAFE HARBOR” (2010) [hereinafter HUMAN
TRAFFICKING LEGISLATIVE ISSUE BRIEF],
15 See TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT, supra note 7, at 364.