Health care professionals who routinely interact with young people have an important role to play in preventing, identifying, and responding to commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors. These crimes—which include any sexual activity with someone younger than 18 years in exchange for something of value—occur every day in the United States and have serious, long-term consequences for individuals who have experienced this violence and exploitation. Unfortunately, pediatricians may not recognize children and adolescents who are at risk or who may be abused. A recent report from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council sheds light on these crimes and provides recommendations designed to increase awareness, advance understanding, and support efforts to prevent and respond to this abuse.
Diaz A, Clayton EW, Simon P. Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors. JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(9):791–792. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.1002