sex trafficking

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Sex trafficking is a form of human trafficking which transports or exploits persons to use them for sexual acts. Title 22, Section 7102 of the U.S. Code defines sex trafficking as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act.” That section defines a commercial sex act as “any sex act on account of which anything of value is given or received by any person.” 

Title 18, Section 1591 of the U.S. Code criminalizes sex trafficking. United States v. Cook, 782 F.3d 983, 987 (8th Cir. 2015) clarifies that both purchasers and providers of commercial sex acts may be criminally liable. Section 1591 covers sex trafficking for both children and adults. This provision, however, applies to trafficking in adults aged 18 or older for commercial sex acts only if done by actual or threatened force, fraud, or coercion. The use of force, fraud, or coercion is not necessary for criminal liability to attach when the victim is under 18 years of age.

If any individual seeks to report instances of sex trafficking, there is a national human trafficking hotline that they can reach out to. 

[Last updated in December of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]