ASU Report: Arrests Rising In Sex Trafficking Of Minors

Published: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - 3:25pm
Updated: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - 3:37pm
(Screen capture from the ASU Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research report)
A screen capture of the 1,416 sex trafficking of minors cases analyzed by ASU on a map.


Charges for the sex trafficking of minors have risen over the last five years. That’s the finding of a national report from Arizona State University that analyzed more than 1,400 arrests.

“We’ve seen a big shift in the last six years of a growing number of trafficking cases, we don’t see any end in sight,” said report author Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, director of the office of sex trafficking intervention research at ASU.

Among the findings:

  • 67 percent of cases were facilitated by technology like email, smartphones and
  • There were 97 sex trafficking cases in 2010  and 360 cases in 2015.
  • People who sex traffic minors are an average of 28.5 years old and trending younger.
  • Most traffickers are male, 75 percent, but the number of females arrested is increasing.
  • One in five perpetrators was affiliated with a gang.

“There’s not a lot of work,” Roe-Sepowitz said of how technology has changed trafficking. “You don’t have to walk the streets, you don’t have to bang on doors, you don’t have to call people, you can just place an ad and get dozens of people calling you to buy sex from that minor.”

The report found there were 8 arrests for sex trafficking of a minor in Arizona between 2010 and 2015.

Jim Gallagher is a commander in the Phoenix Police Department and says reports like this one help increase awareness in the public and aid law enforcement.

“So if we have a case where we identify a trafficker we look to see who they surround themselves with, and who their other victims are and who they’ve previously been connected to,” Gallagher said.

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