What is Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking?
Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) occurs when:
- a U.S. citizen
- under 18 years of age
- is engaged in a commercial sex act
Kidnapping is not required. Transportation to another city, state or country is not required. Proving force, fraud, or coercion is not required. Any minor involved in a commercial sex act — meaning, any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received — is a victim of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking.
Sex trafficking is fueled by demand for commercial sex. Whether it’s pornography, prostitution or stripping, buyers fund the commercial sex industry and contribute to the exploitation of America’s youth. Research shows that “johns” often seek prostitution in order to act out what they’ve seen in online pornography. It is illegal to purchase sex, but due to anonymity and lax punishment, buyers demand a supply that traffickers fulfill by preying upon the young and vulnerable.
A trafficker, also known as a pimp, is anyone who profits by receiving cash or goods in exchange for a sex act with a minor. Traffickers use recruitment tactics such as violence, seduction, befriending, and coercion to lure vulnerable youth. Traffickers rarely kidnap their victims. Instead, the chains are more often psychological, placed on victims through the manipulation of a trafficker who has taken advantage of their emotional and physical needs.
Victims of sex trafficking come from a variety of ethnicities and socioeconomic groups. Among the girls For The Silent serves, the average age of entry into the sex industry is 15 years old. Many underage victims have a dysfunctional home life and a history that often includes running away, truancy, drug abuse, and/or sexual abuse. Because the trafficker fills an existing void in the victim’s life, she often mistakes him for a boyfriend. Due to fear and strong trauma bonds with her trafficker, she rarely self- identifies, making it difficult for first responders to recognize her as a victim and intervene.
Number of Texas youth who are victims of domestic minor sex trafficking.