Human trafficking, usually known as modern day slavery, has now become a global phenomenon which also involves minor sex trafficking. Human trafficking and sex crimes in the state of Virginia also involves the sexual exploitation of a minor through prostitution, pornography and even sexual performance. These crimes are practiced by minors for monetary or other commodities and compensation such as shelter, drugs or food etc. Minors are forced into performing sexual activities and undergo severe torture. All minors, who are involved in commercial sexual acts are the victims of human trafficking and sex crimes.
With the absence of profound and concrete law against human trafficking and sex crimes, traffickers and buyers are prosecuted under general sex crimes. This is due to the fact that the absence of a stand-alone human trafficking law results in the confusion, unequal and unjustified penalties for offenders. It also prevents an accurate and correct number of the victims. Human traffickers should also be charged with extortion, pandering, assault, abduction, rape, child pornography etc. However, the main charges which are brought forward against such human traffickers and buyers of commercial sex with a minor by having indecent liberties with children, are not much.
There is a need to have a database system that should monitor and record human trafficking cases. These cases should then be reported as prostitution, pandering to all the other related crimes. Such criminal laws should be applied with the thought to punish offenders of domestic minor sex trafficking and should also perpetuate the fallacy that minor child sex trafficking does not occur.
Placement Options to Consider
There should be a limited number of residential placement options that should provide specialized care and shelter options for the victims of human trafficking and sex crimes. There should be more sufficient centers, facilities and emergency shelters made available. Some of these shelters should also incorporate treatment options for the victims who have been exposed to sexual exploitation. These victims should be treated with the upmost care and respect, in order for them to heal from the trauma, pain and depression that they have faced from their sexual exploitation.
Victims of human trafficking and sex crimes need protective and therapeutic shelter so that they can recover soon and be able to adjust in the socity once again. Commercial shelters, state-run homes or traditional foster homes may not be the best possible option for them, due to their lack of specialized care services and lack of security. Placement in these provided shelters can have a higher risk of these victims returning back to their traffickers.
There are laws which do not specifically criminalize the acts and buyers of commercial sex with minors. It is important to bring such charges against these buyers and clearly define such laws to provide adequate penalties. Human trafficking and sex crimes may also involve abduction with the intent to extort money which can then be related to slavery. With the absence of such penalties for human trafficking and sex crimes, buyers of commercial sex could not be charged and do not directly relate to the crimes of sex trafficking. Buyers are offenders of sex trafficking and they do escape significant penalties, thus providing inadequate deterrence.