UA-174898256-1 Crimes Against Children Research Center

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children


Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (Sex Trafficking)

The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC),  or sex trafficking, is not a new phenomenon but is an increasingly central component of the criminal justice system's fight against child sexual exploitation.

A number of impediments have hampered research about CSEC. Crime reporting data often do not include the ages youth involved. This CSEC is potentially concentrated in certain parts of the country. Certain types of CSEC, such as adults offering young children in exchange for money, are treated as child sexual abuse cases rather than CSEC. The Internet's importance in facilitating CSECs is still evolving.

A second issue complicating this subject is the dual status of victim and offender that juveniles involved in CSEC often have in the criminal justice system. Inconsistencies in emphasis among law enforcement agencies lead to a lack of reliable data.

CCRC is conducting research to assess the nature and extent of CSEC in the US and provide policy recommendations for governmental and law enforcement agencies. For more information, see the National Juvenile Prostitution Study (N-JPS).

Trends and New Directions in the Law Enforcement Response to the Sex Trafficking of Minors: A Nationally Representative Study (LEA-CST)

Funded by: The National Institute of Justice, award 2020-MU-CX-0041. The overall goal of the LEA-CST Study is to assess and document the extent that law enforcement has been changing practices to child sex trafficking investigations from a delinquency-oriented response to a victim-centered approach.