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What is Human Sex Trafficking?
Human sex trafficking is a form of slavery and involuntary servitude resulting in grave human rights violations. Sex trafficking involves individuals profiting from the sexual exploitation of others and has severe physical and psychological consequences for its victims.
 
Although anyone can become a victim of trafficking, it predominately affects women and children. Human sex trafficking violates women and children’s basic human rights, including the right to be free from slavery and slavery-like practices; the right to equal protection under the law; the right to be free from discrimination based on race, nationality, and gender; and the rights to life, security of person and freedom from torture. Governments also violate trafficked persons’ rights when they fail to prevent sex trafficking, prosecute perpetrators or provide trafficked persons with effective remedies for these violations, such as access to courts and legal immigration status.
 
While there has been an increased focus on human sex trafficking in recent years, no consensus exists regarding a definition of sex trafficking. This lack of consensus reflects a much deeper controversy about prostitution, women, and consent; including questions about whether women ever “voluntarily” engage in prostitution. The different laws that address sex trafficking all reflect some underlying policy position regarding this controversy. However, international, federal and state law all reflect the idea that human sex trafficking involves the recruiting, harboring, receipt, or transportation of persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation[1]. Sexual exploitation includes the trading of sex for money, clothing, food, drugs, shelter, or favors[2].
 


[1] The Advocates for Human Rights, Sex Trafficking Needs Assessment for the State of Minnesota (Minnesota: 2008), 3.
[2] The Advocates for Human Rights, Sex Trafficking Needs Assessment for the State of Minnesota (Minnesota: 2008), 13.