Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Domestic minor sex trafficking victims are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents under the age of 18 who have been recruited, harbored, transported, provided or obtained to perform commercial sex acts, which are defined as any sex acts done in exchange for monetary or other non-monetary gain.

Domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) is becoming a burgeoning risk factor for American youth as gangs find that prostituting minors is a source of prestige and income and traffickers discover that American children are easier to recruit and sell than foreign victims because there is no need to cross the border. 

Recent examples of DMST in Washington:

In September 2009, the Seattle PI reported a 33-year-old Seattle man had forced two underaged girls, a 13-year-old and a 17-year-old, to prostitute themselves for his own financial benefit. Both girls had run away from home. [1

The U.S. Department of Justice's Western District of Washington reports that in November 2014, a King County man was convicted of trafficking teenage girls across state lines, forcing them to work as prostitutes. [2]


photo of laptop with WaTraffickingHelp on the screen

Services & Resources for Victims

National Statistics on Domestic Sex Trafficking:

Common Myths from Shared Hope International:

Child sex trafficking isn't happening in the U.S.

  • An estimated 293,000 children in the U.S. are in danger of being sexually trafficked. [3]
  • The victims are American children, youth of all races and all different backgrounds, and range in age from infants to teens. [4]
  • Investigative research by Shared Hope International,reveals pimps commonly sell minor girls for $400.00 an hour on America’s streets.
  • Human rights investigations by Shared Hope International, discovered minors were sold an average of 10-15 times a day, 6 days a week, totaling between 9,360 and 14,040 sex acts a year. The girls received none of the money.

Only a very small percentage of people look at child pornography or purchase kids for sale.

  • 12 is the average age of entry into porn and prostitution, but their ages are often mislabeled. [5]
  • 1 out of 5 pornographic images is of a child. [6]
  • The sale of child pornography has become a $3 billion dollar industry. [7]
  • Over 100,000 websites offer child pornography. [8]
  • 55 percent of internet child pornography comes from the U.S. [9]

Trafficking in Persons Report 2011

The State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons Report [10] examines human trafficking in 184 countries, including the U.S. This year's report revealed that:

  • The United States is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor, debt bondage, document servitude, and sex trafficking.
  • Trafficking occurs for commercial sexual exploitation in street prostitution, massage parlors, and brothels, and for labor in domestic service, agriculture, manufacturing, janitorial services, hotel services, hospitality industries, construction, health and elder care, and strip club dancing.
  • In FY 2010, collectively federal law enforcement charged 181 individuals, and obtained 141 convictions in 103 human trafficking prosecutions (32 labor trafficking and 71 sex trafficking). These numbers do not reflect prosecutions of cases involving the commercial sexual exploitation of children that were brought under statutes other than the TVPA’s sex trafficking provision.
  • Over the last decade, human trafficking cases under state statutes were initiated in 18 states. The majority of state cases involved child sex trafficking; at least three states used their state statutes for forced labor prosecutions.
  • Less than 10 percent of state and local law enforcement agencies surveyed had protocols or policies on human trafficking, and recommended augmented training, standard operational protocols, and dedicated personnel within police agencies.
  • U.S. citizen child victims are often runaways, troubled, and homeless youth.

Resources for educators, parents, youth workers, & law enforcement

Rescue and Restore Tool Kits from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Social Services Resources including: