Who's at Risk?

Children or youth who:


Warning Signs

How will you know if a child or young person in your life has become a victim of sex trafficking?
Look for a combination of signs like these, which may indicate the commercial sexual exploitation of a minor:

Responding to Trafficking

If you believe you have identified a victim of human trafficking or sexual exploitation,
DO NOT intervene as this could put the victim in more harm.

Instead, memorize as many details as you can (i.e. approximate age of victim, height, hair color, any distinct marks on body, location you saw victim, license plate number, etc.). Then, write down any suspicious activity or signs you identified (i.e. marks on body, abnormal behavior, conversations, etc.). and contact one of the following with the information:

Terms to Know:

Automatic: A term denoting the victim’s “automatic” routine when her pimp is out of town, in jail, or otherwise not in direct contact with those he is prostituting. Victims are expected to comply with the rules and often do so out of fear of punishment or because they have been psychologically manipulated into a sense of loyalty or love. All money generated on “automatic” is turned over to the pimp. This money may be used to support his concession/phone account or to pay his bond if he’s in jail.

Bottom Girl: A female appointed by the trafficker/pimp to supervise the others and report rule violations. Operating as his “right hand,” the Bottom may help instruct victims, collect money, book hotel rooms, post ads, or inflict punishments on other girls.

Branding: A tattoo or carving of a victim that indicates ownership by a trafficker/pimp/gang.

Child trafficking: Forms of child trafficking include trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation, labor trafficking, removal of organs, illicit international adoption, trafficking for early marriage, recruitment as child soldiers, use in begging, and recruitment of athletes.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC): Sexual abuse by the adult and remuneration in cash or kind to the child or a third person or persons. The child is treated as a sexual object and as a commercial object. CSEC includes the prostitution of children, child pornography, child sex tourism, and other forms of transactional sex where a child engages in sexual activities to have key needs fulfilled, such as food, shelter, or access to education. It includes forms of transactional sex where the sexual abuse of children is not stopped or reported by household members, due to benefits derived by the household from the perpetrator.

Daddy: The term a pimp will often require his victim to call him.

Domestic trafficking: Refers to the trafficking of U.S. citizens within the United States. Most often seen in the sex trafficking of persons by a pimp.

Exit Fee: The money a pimp will demand from a victim who is thinking about trying to leave. It will be an exorbitant sum, to discourage her from leaving. Most pimps never let their victims leave freely.

Family/Folks: The term used to describe the other individuals under the control of the same pimp. He plays the role of father (or “Daddy”) while the group fulfills the need for a “family.”

“John” (a/k/a Buyer or “Trick”): An individual who pays for or trades something of value for sexual acts.

Kiddie Stroll: An area known for prostitution that features younger victims.

Minor: Under the TVPA, a minor is any person under the age of 18.

Pimp: A person who controls and financially benefits from the commercial sexual exploitation of another person. The relationship can be abusive and possessive, with the pimp using techniques such as psychological intimidation, manipulation, starvation, rape and/or gang rape, beating, confinement, threats of violence toward the victim’s family, forced drug use, and the shame from these acts to keep the sexually exploited person under control.

Sex trafficking: Under the TVPA, sex trafficking is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age (22 U.S.C. § 7102; 8 C.F.R. § 214.11(a)).

Squaring Up: Attempting to escape or exit prostitution. 

Stable: A group of victims who are under the control of a single pimp.

The Game/The Life: The subculture of prostitution, complete with rules, a hierarchy of authority, and language. Referring to the act of pimping as ‘the game’ gives the illusion that it can be a fun and easy way to make money, when the reality is much harsher. Women and girls will say they’ve been “in the life” if they’ve been involved in prostitution for a while.

Track (a/k/a Stroll or Blade): An area of town known for prostitution activity. This can be the area around a group of strip clubs and pornography stores, or a particular stretch of street.

Trick: Committing an act of prostitution (verb), or the person buying it (noun). A victim is said to be “turning a trick” or “with a trick.”

Turn Out: To be forced into prostitution (verb) or a person newly involved in prostitution (noun).

Wifeys/Wife-in-Law/Sister Wife: What women and girls under the control of the same pimp call each other. (See Family/Folks and Stable.)

*This glossary was prepared with contributions & permission from SharedHope.org.



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CSEC Fact Sheet by

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DMST Terms to Know

References:     It Has to Stop     Street Grace     GEMS     Shared Hope International     Polaris Project     IJM     Blue Campaign