Connecticut’s child-protection agency has fielded nearly 200 calls on the sex trafficking of minors since 2008, and police, prosecutors, and social workers are now working on a more unified response to an increasingly insidious practice.
The scope of the problem is probably wider than the reports that DCF receives through its hotline. “I believe this type of activity occurs far more than we realize,” said Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane. “This is basically sexual assault of minors, but the victims are not inclined to report it or seek the help of police. We need to think about ways that law enforcement can be a more significant part of the solution – but it is still just one component of the response.”
State laws enacted since 2012 have targeted traffickers who exploit adolescents who are too young to legally consent to sex. It is now a felony to purchase any type of advertising for a “commercial sex act” involving a person under 18. Patronizing a prostitute under 18, formerly a misdemeanor offense, is now a felony carrying a prison term of up to 10 years. Also, the state can now move to seize money and property of anyone convicted of third-degree promoting prostitution and commercial sexual exploitation of a minor.
Learn more at Josh Kovner’s Hartford Courant article: State Takes Aim At Sex Trafficking Of Minors.