Obtaining a child for the purposes of a commercial sex act is a crime that involves coercion, forced labor, threats and violence against children. Child victims of sexual exploitation are sometimes referred to as trafficking victims or victims of sexual exploitation.

The exploited youth are not Child Prostitutes, nor are they Prostitutes: They are victims.

Though it has been widely recognized that commercialized sexual exploitation of children occurs in many parts of the world, its existence and pervasiveness in the U.S. has only recently emerged as an issue that warrants increased awareness and action. This is because the commercial sexual exploitation of children happens very differently than other forms of child sexual abuse or rape; the abuse does not happen in secrecy and the child may be groomed by the trafficker/pimp to act as the seducer. This creates a challenge for social/health service providers, law enforcement, and the public to identify victims. The victim themselves rarely realize that they are in fact a victim.