Child Trafficking

American College of Pediatricians

Children are the world’s future. Child trafficking, as with few other threats to their well-being, undermines the future of children, families, and societies. In the United States, it is estimated that up to 300,000 children are victims of sex trafficking, also known as Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST). Countless others are victims of additional forms of exploitation, especially forced labor. Some of these children have been brought to the United States illegally, while thousands are US citizens as young as 12, who have been recruited, abducted, abused, or exploited into the sex trade or forced servitude.

The UN’s “Palermo Protocol” defines all human trafficking as, “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability” (United Nations, 2000). The definition expands the parameters for children, specifically those under the age of 18, to include illegal adoption, recruitment as soldiers, and pornography.

The American College of Pediatricians recognizes the tragic reality of this multi-billion dollar child trafficking industry in the United States and around the world, and proposes the four following responses to prevent, identify, and bring healing and justice to its victims:

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