high demand for commercial sexual exploitation of women and
children in our country.24 With some cities in the United States
glorified as “sex tourism destinations,”25 there are “thousands of
strippers, prostitutes and other sex workers accommodating an
endless stream of johns from around the country. Under-age girls
(some as young as [ten] and [eleven]) are a significant part of that
trade.”26 Further, some children, as young as ages five and six, are
coerced into performing sexual acts for their trafficker’s economic
benefit.27 The average age of entry into the commercial sex industry
for children is between twelve and fourteen years old28 and it is
estimated that approximately eighty percent of prostitutes started
working in the industry before they were eighteen years old.29
Common characteristics among these child victims include a
history of physical or sexual abuse, involvement in the child welfare
system, a history of running away from home, homelessness, and
drug addiction.30 The vulnerability of these children makes them
prime targets for pimps to control and force into the commercial sex
_Jan_2012_.pdf; see also Tamar R. Birckhead, The “Youngest Profession”:
Consent, Autonomy, and Prostituted Children, 88 WASH. U. L. REV. 1055, 1055
(2011) (suggesting that some studies show nearly 300,000 American children are at
risk for commercial sexual exploitation).
24 SMITH ET AL., supra note 12, at 26.
25 A sex tourism destination is a place where a man or woman travels to engage in
the commercial sexual exploitation of adults and children due to the destination’s
poorly enforced laws regarding commercial sexual exploitation. See CSEC
Terminology: Child Sex Tourism, ECPAT INT’L,
http://www.ecpat.net/ei/csec_cst.asp (last visited Apr. 28, 2013).
26 Bob Herbert, Op-Ed., Bought and Sold, N.Y. TIMES, Nov. 20, 2006, at A23,
available at http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/20/opinion/20herbert.html.
27 INT’L CRISIS AID, SEX TRAFFICKING IN THE UNITED STATES 1 (2009) [hereinafter
SEX TRAFFICKING IN THE UNITED STATES],
28 See CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING AT-A-GLANCE, supra note 23.
29 See Birckhead, supra note 23, at 1061.
30 SEX TRAFFICKING IN THE UNITED STATES, supra note 27; see also Birckhead,
supra note 23, at 1060-61 (discussing the characteristics of child victims).