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Sex trafficking is the crime of using force, fraud, or coercion to induce another individual to sell sex. Common types include escort services, pornography, illicit massage businesses, brothels, and outdoor solicitation. The one exception involves minors and commercial sex. Inducing a minor into commercial sex is considered human trafficking regardless of the presence of force, fraud, or coercion.

WHAT IS SEX TRAFFICKING?

Sex trafficking is any sex act done in exchange for any item of value, where a third party is profiting off of the exchange. When a person is over 18 force, fraud or coercion must also be present. If a person is under 18 they cannot legally consent and therefore it is automatically sex trafficking.

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What falls under the umbrella of sex trafficking?

The term “trafficking” can bring to mind the idea that transportation or movement across borders is required – IT IS NOT. Transporting a person for the purpose of commercial sex is just one type of trafficking; however, a person can be trafficked in their own community or their own home.

A trafficker can be a third party such as a pimp, but they can also be the buyers themselves. Anyone who allows trafficking to happen can be charged with trafficking as well (giving a victim a ride, checking them into a hotel room, etc.)

Sex trafficking is just one form of commercial sexual exploitation. Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) encompasses ALL forms of commercial sex and acknowledges the inherently exploitive nature of the commercial sex trade regardless of state or federal statutes on trafficking. 

Sex trafficking can happen to anyone but some people are more vulnerable than others. Significant risk factors include recent migration or relocation, substance use, mental health concerns, involvement with the child welfare system, and being a runaway or homeless youth. Often, traffickers identify and leverage their victims’ vulnerabilities in order to create dependency. 

Some types of sex trafficking are:

This type of trafficking is likely the closest thing to the picture you might have in your head of what trafficking is. Pimp-controlled trafficking often involves a trafficker targeting vulnerable victims, grooming them, and then exploiting them. Pimp-controlled trafficking often looks like what people may think of as prostitution. Victims are advertised as selling sex and then forced to engage with buyers. This is a type of trafficking that happens in Wyoming and is the type of trafficking that is targeted when local law enforcement conducts sting operations.

This type of trafficking is when a gang is in control of the trafficking operation. Many times victims may grow up within a gang and are groomed from young ages to either be a victim or a trafficker. We have received disclosures of this type of trafficking in Wyoming, particularly on the reservations.

This type of trafficking is when a family member is the one trafficking a victim. This is the type of trafficking that we identify and receive the most disclosures of in Wyoming.

DMST stands for domestic minor sex trafficking, and this is a label given to cases involving minors in the US. This is also a form of trafficking we see in Wyoming.

Online trafficking occurs when someone is recruiting or trafficking a victim online. Some may not realize that you do not have to be in-person to be a victim of trafficking, but we do see victims who are engaged in forms of commercial sex, such as pornography, online and a trafficker is profiting off of the exchange. This type of trafficking happens everywhere, even in Wyoming. 

Illicit massage parlors seem like massage parlors on the surface, but victims may be forced to work at them and provide commercial sex acts. There have been reports and investigations of illicit massage parlors in Wyoming. We are also bordering Montana, and Billings has a high occurrence of this type of trafficking. 

Escort services are when a buyer pays for “dates” but expects much more. Trafficking is prevalent in escort services, with many victims being forced to work in them.

This type of trafficking occurs mostly in other countries. This is when commercial sex buyers travel with the intent to purchase commercial sex. Though it is not common in the US, the US is the biggest consumer of this type of trafficking.

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