Publication Date

Fall 11-29-2016


Helms School of Government


Government: Pre-Law


Sex trafficking, Minors, Trafficking Victims Protection Act, Federal law, Human trafficking, Prostitution, Safe Harbor, Legislation, Disparity


The United States has made strides in deterring the crime of sex trafficking of minors. Within the past 16 years, the central piece of legislation, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), has seen numerous reauthorizations, each one expanding from the one that precedes it. However, with its original intent focused on prosecuting international traffickers, the language cited is ambiguous. Furthermore, the federal anti- trafficking laws are inconsistent with state prostitution laws due to differences in age of consent. Because of this, a minor who is under federal law a victim may be prosecuted as a criminal under state law. This is a great inconsistency. To win the fight against sex trafficking of minors in the United States, state prostitution legislation must be encouraged to eliminate age of consent.