Project Freedom was formed in the Carolinas to focus on creation of emergent care for child victims and the fight to abolish Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) in our region.
What is DMST?
Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act where the person is under the age of 18.
DMST is the commercial sexual abuse of children by selling, buying, or trading their sexual service.
Minors involved in DMST can be forced into prostitution, pornography, stripping, escort services, or other sexual services.
Teens are most at risk
More U.S. citizens are victims of sex trafficking within U.S. borders than are foreign nationals, and American teens are most at risk of becoming victims of DMST.1
Involvement in prostitution is at epidemic proportions among teens on the streets. It typically takes a teen entering life on the streets only 48 hours to be contacted by a potential trafficker.
All teens are at risk to be victims of DMST, but these factors increase vulnerability:
parental mental illness
youth living in out-of-home placements such as foster care, group homes, or youth shelters
Why is there demand?
child pornography and trafficking
of internet child pornography is
from the U.S.
In a New York study, 85% of DMST victims had contact with Child Welfare Services. This contact may be before the child is involved in trafficking, during, and after they are involved in trafficking, or both. In any case, the child learns that “the system” cannot help them.
The number of crisis trafficking cases handled by the Trafficking Hotline increased by more than 40% following the shelter-in-place orders.2
Sources: 1- Hughes, 2007, 2- Polaris, 3-United Nations’ International Labour Organization