Domestic Minor Familial Sex Trafficking:
A National Study of Prevalence, Characteristics, and Challenges across the Justice Process
Familial sex trafficking, similar to intrafamilial sexual abuse (incest), is an unspoken yet distinct form of abuse against children. Unlike other crimes that occur in public places, intrafamilial abuse usually occurs in private places, and the victims may try to hide evidence of it or deny that it took place.
Because this research is so important, we seek opportunities to share the findings. In 2023, Dr. Jeanne Allert has spoken across the country on this topic.
- September 2023: US Dept of Health & Human Services ACF Human Trafficking Workgroup for Regions 4 & 6, TX
- September 2023: The International Association of Human Trafficking Investigators Annual Conference, FL
- August 2023: Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Light the Way 2023 Summit, TX
- July 2023: 13th Annual Child Advocacy Conference, MI
- May 2023: Conference on Crimes Against Women, TX
- April 2023: Children’s’ Justice Conference, WA
- March 2023: Christian Community Health Fellowship Conference, OH
- February 2023: Shared Hope International – Zoom Webinar
- January 2023: Alabama End It Summit, AL
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a speaker
The data for this study was derived from a national survey and in-depth interviews of justice professionals from 24 states, representing 3,505 cases of domestic minor sex trafficking during the period of 2018-2021, of which 917 cases were confirmed familial. Prevalence from this study suggests 26 percent of cases were family-facilitated, but justice professionals believe the number to be higher due to insufficient disclosure, lack of evidence, and how cases are recorded. Reports from individual states also suggest a higher prevalence. Other studies suggest as high as 47%.
This study aimed to determine the profile of children who are victims of domestic minor familial sex trafficking. Research indicates that pre-pubescent and adolescent females are the populations at greatest risk.
What makes domestic minor familial sex trafficking (FST) distinct from incest or domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) are two factors:
1 the presence of an economic exchange, and
2 the unique relationship between the victim and the perpetrator.
The most common perpetrator of familial trafficking in this study was—by wide margin—the child’s biological mother (60.29%). All respondents reported at least one case involving the biological mother of the victim as perpetrator.
An important distinction between incestuous child abuse and FST is the presence of an economic exchange, regardless of the form of commerce.
While children may be exploited in a range of venues, there is yet no distinct pattern or characteristic for where familial trafficking takes place.
For justice to have an opportunity, there must be a breach in the law and sufficient evidence to prove the offense. That is challenging in familial cases as there are a myriad of dynamics at play.