When most people think of sex trafficking — a form of violence where people are sexually exploited for commercial purposes — they immediately think of stereotypical images. Like that of a vulnerable girl exploited by a pimp. An innocent schoolkid targeted online by a pedophile. An illicit connection between predator and unwitting prey, made on a site like Craigslist or Facebook.
But domestic minor sex trafficking is more often about young people who are homeless, yet turned away from crowded shelters. About teens exploited by family members (or kicked out of the house for being gay or transgender). Or about youths simply trying to escape other forms of violence. In other words: systemic factors that have little to do with the actions of predators.