Maryland Child Trafficking Conference

Quote

“The title of this conference was not chosen lightly,” continued Finigan-Carr, who is also director, Prevention of Adolescent Risks Initiative, and assistant director, Ruth H. Young Center for Families and Children. “Moving from awareness to response is really what we want. We need to do more than know human trafficking exists. We need to be able to respond, because the children that we serve, the youth that we serve, the citizens here in our state deserve us to be better, to do better.”

The school’s initiatives have led to:

A 2016 study by the Center for Court Innovation estimated between 4,457 and 20,995 13- to 17-year-olds are involved in the sex trade in the United States. In Maryland, between July 2013 and June 2017, more than 350 cases of suspected child sex trafficking were reported by local departments of social services statewide.

Child victims of trafficking are recruited, transported, transferred, harbored, or received for the purpose of exploitation, Finigan-Carr continued, noting they may be forced to work in sweatshops, on farms, in traveling sales crews, in restaurants, hotels, brothels, or strip clubs, or for escort or massage services.

Other speakers included Maryland Assistant U.S. Attorney Ayn Ducao, who chairs the MHTTF and said when she started prosecuting human trafficking cases, she focused on the wrong questions.

“I focused on the question of ‘Why does the victim stay? Why didn’t she leave? Why doesn’t she seek help?’ ’’ Ducao said. In her first human trafficking case, the “she” was a 14-year-old sex trafficking victim.

“I came to realize those are the wrong questions to be asking,” she said. “You don’t ask a robbery victim, ‘Why did she let herself get mugged?’ We shouldn’t be asking the human trafficking victim. ‘Why do you let yourself get trafficked?’ as if that victimization was her choice.”

Progress in the Fight Against Child Trafficking, University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB) News, By Mary T. Phelan, December 15, 2017

Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000

Quote

A complete list of laws can be found here: U.S. Laws on Trafficking in Persons

Quotes From: Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000

SEC. 102. PURPOSES AND FINDINGS.

    a) PURPOSES- The purposes of this division are to combat trafficking in persons, a contemporary manifestation of slavery whose victims are predominantly women and children, to ensure just and effective punishment of traffickers, and to protect their victims.
    (b) FINDINGS- Congress finds that:
    • (13) Involuntary servitude statutes are intended to reach cases in which persons are held in a condition of servitude through nonviolent coercion. In United States v. Kozminski, 487 U.S. 931 (1988), the Supreme Court found that section 1584 of title 18, United States Code, should be narrowly interpreted, absent a definition of involuntary servitude by Congress. As a result, that section was interpreted to criminalize only servitude that is brought about through use or threatened use of physical or legal coercion, and to exclude other conduct that can have the same purpose and effect.
    • (14) Existing legislation and law enforcement in the United States and other countries are inadequate to deter trafficking and bring traffickers to justice, failing to reflect the gravity of the offenses involved. No comprehensive law exists in the United States that penalizes the range of offenses involved in the trafficking scheme. Instead, even the most brutal instances of trafficking in the sex industry are often punished under laws that also apply to lesser offenses, so that traffickers typically escape deserved punishment.
    • (15) In the United States, the seriousness of this crime and its components is not reflected in current sentencing guidelines, resulting in weak penalties for convicted traffickers.
    • (16) In some countries, enforcement against traffickers is also hindered by official indifference, by corruption, and sometimes even by official participation in trafficking.

SEC. 103. DEFINITIONS.

    • (2) COERCION- The term `coercion’ means–
      • (A) threats of serious harm to or physical restraint against any person;
      • (B) any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; or
      • (C) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.
    • (3) COMMERCIAL SEX ACT- The term `commercial sex act’ means any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.
    • (4) DEBT BONDAGE- The term `debt bondage’ means the status or condition of a debtor arising from a pledge by the debtor of his or her personal services or of those of a person under his or her control as a security for debt, if the value of those services as reasonably assessed is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt or the length and nature of those services are not respectively limited and defined.
    • (5) INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE- The term `involuntary servitude’ includes a condition of servitude induced by means of–
      • (A) any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that, if the person did not enter into or continue in such condition, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint; or
      • (B) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.

SEC. 108. MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR THE ELIMINATION OF TRAFFICKING.

      • (a) MINIMUM STANDARDS- For purposes of this division, the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking applicable to the government of a country of origin, transit, or destination for a significant number of victims of severe forms of trafficking are the following:
        • (1) The government of the country should prohibit severe forms of trafficking in persons and punish acts of such trafficking.
        • (2) For the knowing commission of any act of sex trafficking involving force, fraud, coercion, or in which the victim of sex trafficking is a child incapable of giving meaningful consent, or of trafficking which includes rape or kidnapping or which causes a death, the government of the country should prescribe punishment commensurate with that for grave crimes, such as forcible sexual assault.
        • (3) For the knowing commission of any act of a severe form of trafficking in persons, the government of the country should prescribe punishment that is sufficiently stringent to deter and that adequately reflects the heinous nature of the offense.
        • (4) The government of the country should make serious and sustained efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons.

Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000