(Tempe, Arizona) — A new study and Internet tool, released today, by Arizona State University provides further insights about underage victims of sex trafficking and the people who force them to perform sexual acts against their will.

The Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research at Arizona State University analyzed 1,416 cases of alleged traffickers from 46 states over six years. Researchers found an estimated 75% of alleged traffickers recruited only victims under the age of 18. The average victim was 15½ years old and taken by traffickers to more than two states to force them to perform sex acts.

“We’ve created a dashboard for people to really deep dive into this data and to take a look at the things that make a person vulnerable to the ways that traffickers victimize young people,” said Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, a professor in the ASU School of Social Work and director of the Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention. “We need to pay attention to these kids, who have lots of important needs, before they get into a situation where a trafficker can identify them.”

The report includes details about the alleged traffickers, including how they recruit minors, how they coerce their victims into performing sexual acts against their will and what happens to the alleged traffickers after their arrest.

“I think the most important thing about the study is that we have seen a significant increase in the use of the charge of sex trafficking of a minor across the country,” Roe-Sepowitz said. “The number of cases grew from 97 in 2010 to 360 cases in 2015.”

The study is a collaboration with the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. The Decision Theater at Arizona State University helped develop the Internet dashboard that visually displays the study’s findings. Results will be presented today at 10 a.m. PDT at the Decision Theater in Tempe. The presentation will be live streamed at links.asu.edu/sextrafficker.

The study and dashboard are available online at: socialwork.asu.edu/content/sex-trafficker.


To read original press release, visit the website of the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University.