those of a fully grown adult.74 The already complex issues regarding the validity of consent in
light of the allegedly consenting person’s agreement to a course of action75 are made more
complex by the developmental impediments explored in these Supreme Court decisions.76 This
tension between juvenile culpability and juvenile capacity is perhaps most uncomfortable when
addressing the question of this Article.
III. ARE JUVENILE GANG MEMBERS VICTIMS OF LABOR TRAFFICKING?
A. Identification of Trafficking Victims
One of the perennial problems in trafficking is victim identification. While children
trafficked for sex must necessarily encounter non-traffickers in their servitude, victims of labor
trafficking can be completely concealed.77 Additionally, labor trafficking victims may hide in
plain sight, because the work they do may not be illegal or unusual in and of itself.78 Agricultural
workers and domestic workers perform work that looks “normal,” should any non-traffickers
happen to pass by.79 Even in the context of sex trafficking, when illegal acts are witnessed, the
first impression is one of discovering a perpetrator and not uncovering a victim.80 In the case of
juvenile gang members, the services they are most likely to perform involve coordinating and
participating in drug sales and purchases and providing assistance to other gang members in the
commission of other crimes, such as driving others to or from a crime scene, keeping a lookout,
providing backup, or illegally possessing weapons.81 These blatant crimes are more likely to be
noticed than activities that have a more legitimate appearance, particularly by law enforcement,
by the simple fact of their illegality.82 This puts juvenile gang members closer to child victims of
sex trafficking in terms of their potential for being identified as victims of trafficking through
interaction with law enforcement.
A further complication to the issue of identification is that most victims do not see
themselves as victims.83 Domestic sex trafficking victims may reject the victim label due to their
traffickers’ emotional manipulations and because the victims may be in love with their traffickers
as a result of these manipulations.84 These individuals may be difficult to discover because of
their attachment to their traffickers and their unwillingness, whether based in fear of or affection
for them, to cause problems for their traffickers.85 There may also be compelling safety reasons
for victims to resist that label, as they may fear retaliation from their traffickers if the abuse is
acknowledged.86 Juvenile gang members, some of whom may have joined their gangs to fill a
74 See Jones, supra note 18, at 2–5 (summarizing the cognitive research basis for the findings in J.D.B., Roper, and Miller).
75 Jones, supra note 12, at 510–11.
76 Roper, 543 U.S. at 570; Miller, 132 S. Ct. at 2475; see Ian P. Farrell & Justin F. Marceau, Taking Voluntariness Seriously, 54 B.C.
L. REV. 1545, 1548–55 (2013); see Sarah A. Kellogg, Just Grow Up Already: The Diminished Culpability of Juvenile Gang Members
after Miller v. Alabama, 55 B.C. L. REV. 265, 267 (2014).
77 Hidden Slaves, supra note 2, at 51–52.
78 See generally id.
79 See generally id.
80 Johnson, supra note 1, at 183.
81 Braunstein, supra note 40, at 77–78.
82 A child participating in an armed robbery is more likely to interact with police investigating the crime than a child working in a
large agricultural operation or as a domestic worker who is not only actively hidden by his or her trafficker but to the untrained eye is
performing legitimate labor.
83 Patricia K. Kerig et al., America’s Child Soldiers: Toward a Research Agenda for Studying Gang-Involved Youth in the United
States, 22 J. AGGRESSION, MALTREATMENT & TRAUMA 773, 775–76 (2013).
84 Crile, supra note 12, at 1823.