is possible that both the crimes of smuggling and human trafficking are involved. 36 If the
prosecution cannot prove each element, however, the crime will not be charged as trafficking. 37
While sexual abuse or rape may indicate that force is being used in a labor trafficking
case and are almost always a factor in sex trafficking cases, not all sexual abuse is human
trafficking. For example, a young girl could be raped by her boyfriend, but unless he is using her
(and, if she is at least eighteen years of age, unless he has forced her) to provide sexual services
for profit, it is not human trafficking. 38 Additionally, prostitution is typically involved in sex
trafficking, and the trafficker often takes the profit. 39 However, if the sex worker is not underage
and there is no force, fraud, or coercion to induce the act of prostitution, there is likely no
indication of human trafficking. With a clear understanding of the definition of human
trafficking, this article will next examine how the Internet is being used to traffic children.
III. THE PROBLEM: THE INTERNET IS USED TO PROMOTE AND FACILITATE HUMAN TRAFFICKING
The Internet plays a significant role in the trafficking of children. The use of the “adult
services sections” on websites such as Backpage.com has created virtual brothels where children
are bought and sold using euphemistic labels such as “escorts.” 40 A strong correlation exists
between human trafficking and missing and exploited kids, given the tremendous vulnerability of
these children. 41 Ernie Allen, former president and CEO of the National Center for Missing and
Exploited Children (“NCMEC”) discussed how pimps exploit children, noting “[t]oday, they
market them via the Internet, enabling customers to shop for a child from the privacy of their own
homes or hotel rooms.” 42 John Ryan, current CEO of NCMEC wrote in a letter to Maryland
Attorney General Douglas Gansler, then President of NAAG,
36 See FACT SHEET, supra note 34 (explaining that although smuggling generally involves the consent of the individual being
smuggled, “[f]requently, at the end of the journey, smuggled aliens are held hostage until their debt is paid off”).
37 FARRELL E T AL., supra, note 33, at 173.
38 The Laws, supra note 24; 18 U.S.C.A. §§ 1589, 1590, 1591. Compare United States v. Carreto, 583 F.3d 153 (2nd Cir. 2008)
(finding a criminal organization compelled young Mexican women into prostitution through force, fraud and coercion. The men
recruited young, uneducated women from impoverished backgrounds from Mexico and physically and sexually assaulted their victims
and were charged with human trafficking), with Sara Mulkeen, Cops: Shrewsbury Woman Kidnapped and Repeatedly Raped,
METROWEST DAILY NEWS (Nov. 5, 2013), http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x1783714371/Cops-Woman-kidnapped-and-
repeatedly-raped-in-Shrewsbury (discussing an incident where a woman was kidnapped by a former boyfriend and repeatedly raped,
but he was not charged with human trafficking). See also, Christina Carrega-Woodby, House-Squatter Thugs Held in Kidnapping,
Rape of LI Teen, N. Y. POST (Mar. 9, 2012), http://nypost.com/2012/03/09/house-squatter-thugs-held-in-kidnapping-rape-of-li-teen/
(detailing the experience of a fifteen-year-old girl who ran away from home and was walking with a friend when she and the friend
were picked up by a gang member, and driven to the house where the gang was illegally squatting. The victim and her friend tried to
leave, but were physically forced to stay. Four of the men in the gang tied her up, forced ecstasy pills down her throat and repeatedly
raped her. The Madame of the group took nude photos of her and posted them on Backpage.com to advertise sex for money).
39 Human Trafficking FAQs, How is Pimping a Form of Sex Trafficking?, POLARIS PROJECT, http://www.polarisproject.org/human-
trafficking/human-trafficking-faqs#How is pimping a form of sex trafficking? (last visited Apr. 15, 2012); Human Trafficking, supra
note 17; Domestic Prostitution of Children, JP SIMS CONSULTING, http://www.jpsimsconsulting.com/books-guides-reports/child-
predators/domestic-prostitution-children/ (last visited Nov. 12, 2013).
40 See, e.g., Indianapolis Adult Entertainment, BACKPAGE, http://indianapolis.backpage.com/adult/ (last visited Oct. 13, 2013);
Indianapolis Escorts, BACKPAGE, http://indianapolis.backpage.com/FemaleEscorts/ (last visited Oct. 10, 2013); Letter from the Nat’l
Ass’n of Att’ys Gen. (NAAG) to Samuel Fifer, Counsel for Backpage.com, LLC 3 (Aug. 31, 2011) [hereinafter NAAG Letter],
available at http://www.law.alaska.gov/pdf/press/083111-NAAGletter.pdf.
41 Letter from John D. Ryan, CEO, NCMEC, to Douglas Gansler, Att’y Gen. of Md. (Oct. 25, 2012) (the author obtained this letter
from NAAG, on file with author); John D. Ryan, Chief Executive Officer, NAT’L CTR. FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILD.,
http://www.missingkids.com/Executive Team/JohnRyan (last visited Nov. 4, 2013); News Release, Wash. State Office of the Att’y
Gen., McKenna Announces Agreement with Craigslist to Crack Down on Illegal Sex Trade Ads (Nov. 6, 2008),
42 News Release, supra note 41.