Arrests of American children who are victims of sex trafficking in California has increased an average of 6 percent annually since 1995, according to a new analysis released by the Institute for Trafficked, Exploited, and Missing Persons (ITEMP).
ITEMP hopes to raise awareness about human trafficking as an important domestic issue by releasing this report.
“Although human trafficking has no borders, Americans are generally unaware that modern day slavery exists in their own communities,” ITEMP Founder and International Executive Director Patrick Atkinson said.
The analysis also reveals that California also has about four times more arrests of child sex trafficking victims than the next closest states.
Using FBI arrest data, ITEMP personnel discovered that California has an average increase of 23 arrests each year of domestic minor sex trafficking victims.
Following the passage of federal human trafficking laws in 2000, children who were previously considered juvenile delinquents are now considered sex trafficking victims. However, many states still considered minor sex workers as perpetrators of a crime, not as victims of one.
“Despite laws calling these children what they really are—victims—California is continuing to treat them as criminals,” ITEMP Director of Operations Charles Moore said. “Worse, they are doing it at an ever-increasing rate.”
About the Institute for Trafficked, Exploited, & Missing Persons: Founded in 2001 by Patrick Atkinson, ITEMP focuses on trafficking in persons and child labor. Working with The GOD’S CHILD Project in Minneapolis, ITEMP works with an estimated 6 percent of the Project’s children who qualify as human trafficking victims- typically through forced child labor. ITEMP also rescues and rehabilitates children and adults not already participating in The GOD’S CHILD Project. In addition to rescue and rehabilitation efforts, ITEMP aims to heighten public awareness of global human trafficking.