Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Minors

Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of MinorsHuman trafficking is a form of modern slavery, where people profit from the control and exploitation of others.

Although slavery is commonly thought to be a thing of the past, human trafficking still exists today throughout the United States and globally, when traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control other people for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex or forcing them to provide labor services against their will. Traffickers use violence, threats, deception, debt bondage, and other manipulative tactics to trap victims in horrific situations every day. All trafficking victims share one essential experience – the loss of freedom.


There are two primary factors driving the spread of human trafficking: high profits and low risk. Like drugs and arms trafficking, human trafficking is a market-driven criminal industry that is based on the principles of supply and demand. Every year, traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by victimizing millions of people around the world, including here in the United States.

Human trafficking is a broad term. The focus for Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) and Multidisciplinary Teams (MDTs) is sex trafficking of minors and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. This form of victimization is a subset of the broader problem of child sexual abuse.

Data is hard to come by for a meaningful description of sex trafficking as it relates to minors in the United States. Research indicates there is a strong association with child sexual abuse and sex trafficking of minors (Institute of Medicine & National Research Council, 2013). However, there is no recent research to estimate the number of minors victimized by human trafficking or an estimate for the number of minors at risk.

The resources offered herein are designed to equip child maltreatment practitioners with tools they can use to recognize and combat the sex trafficking of minors. All materials are devoted to filling the gaps in knowledge and understanding of sex trafficking of minors and provide resources for appropriate response, reaction, and questioning for all professionals working with children, throughout the nation and beyond.


The NCAC Librarian has created a selected bibliography of the professional research regarding trafficking of minors. Included are citations and abstracts for articles, books, book chapters, dissertations, and reports. All publications are English language.Bibliography

A new Open Access journal devoted to trafficking and exploitation: Dignity: A Journal of SexualExploitation and Violence

Resources (U.S. and International)

The Child Abuse Library Online (CALiO) provides access to a significant portion of the research on human trafficking and sex trafficking of minors. These publications are freely accessible and listed in date descending order. Restricted access publications are not included.  Publications

Online Trainings and Webinars

NCAC and other organizations deliver evidence-based training via recorded online trainings and live and archived webinars, presented by subject matter experts.

Some of NCAC’s Recorded Online Trainings:

  • Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking – Tyson Elliott, BS (Course ID: NCAC-PPT-009)
  • The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: Identification, Intervention, and Collaboration – Dawn Thompson, Sandy Skelaney, & Maria Clara Rofriquez (Course ID: NCAC-PPT-003)
  • Understanding and Investigating Child Pornography – Joe Laramie, BS & Ron Laney (Course ID: NCAC-PPT-011)
  • Patterns and Trends in the Online Victimization of Children - Kathleen Harris (Course ID: NCAC-W-009)
  • Intervene: Identifying and Responding to America's Prostituted Youth - Elizabeth Scaife, BA Course ID: NCAC-W-013)
  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children 101 - Sandy Skelaney, MA (Course ID: NCAC-W-024)

Other Agency’s Human Trafficking Online Trainings and Resources: