Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: Basic Investigation and Prosecution

Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: Basic Investigation and Prosecution
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2023-04-06
Unit 1 Presentation Materials: Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: Basic Investigation and Prosecution
Unit 2 Transcript: Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: Basic Investigation and Prosecution
Unit 3 Workbook: Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: Basic Investigation and Prosecution
Unit 4 Recording: Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: Basic Investigation and Prosecution

Unlike drug trafficking and arms trafficking which are easily identifiable based on the items and are centred on things sold once and it is gone, sex trafficking is a little bit more complex. It is difficult to identify and requires someone to disclose what is happening to know it exists. And the “item” can be sold over again which makes it so profitable. This session walks us through the culture and dynamics of domestic minor sex trafficking, the actors, and considerations for these cases.

Leading the webinar is Sara Micflikier of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, in Phoenix, Arizona. She is a Deputy County Attorney from the Sex Crimes Bureau handling sex offenses against minors’ cases and post-conviction caseload.

Specifics of her discussion covered:

  • What child sex trafficking is based on federal and Arizona state statutes and its difference from other trafficking offenses.
  • Sex trafficking realities debunking myths related to how traffickers find victims, who are at risk of being trafficked, why victims stay and do not report, and how it is confused with human smuggling.
  • A glimpse into what traffickers “look like”, and the “branding” traffickers put as mark on their victims.
  • The trafficking dynamics, the different actors within the space, the different types of pimps based on their relationship with the victims, and the common terminologies used in the industry.
  • Examples of the typical rules that victims must abide by in the life of prostitution.
  • Factors making victims susceptible to trafficking based on their living conditions, involvement in the foster care and juvenile justice system, and exposure to and history of substance addiction and abuse.
  • The process of victimization which goes into the steps from the time they are selected as victims and the strategies traffickers use to engage with them, groom them, and build dependency and isolation.
  • Common defense or issues raised by buyers to get away with their crimes and how effective suspect interviews can reveal that real interests
  • Points to zero in during trafficker suspect interviews to establish their role as a pimp and get them to admit to the offense.
  • Case examples were presented to demonstrate:
    • How traffickers recruit minors into “The Game” by trying to attract them with money and sense of security.
    • Undercover operations resulting in the apprehension and prosecution of child sex trafficking customers
    • How polygraphs are leveraged post-conviction to know the offenders’ sexual and offense history which then helps authorities place appropriate conditions to prevent them from reoffending.
    • How traffickers threaten, manipulate, and attempt to blame their bottoms and victims.
  • Things to take into account of and pay attention to in terms of…
    • Conducting interviews for probation/parole purposes.
    • Guidelines on the questions that first responders can ask victims and how responses must be documented.
    • Things to look into during investigation follow-up to find more evidence that can be used against traffickers as well as buyers, and find associates, other victims or potential recruits.
    • Specific terms and conditions to add for domestic minor sex trafficking-related probationers.
    • Charging considerations as per rules of evidence and as it relates to the bottom.
    • Providing victims with needed resources so they remain participative in the legal process.
    • Monitoring jail calls, social media, and GPS to catch, if not prevent, attempts to threaten victims, or evade the legal system.
    • Rape shield to prevent attempts to smear the victim by mentioning past sexual history.
    • Utilizing expert testimonies – trafficking case investigators testifying in cold capacity to talk about sex trafficking dynamics.
    • Settlement conferences to discuss the legal process and options available to the trafficker or buyer.

Points raised during the Q&A are about:

  • Recommended resources on sex trafficking.
  • Sentences that customers typically receive.
  • Preventing a defendant representing themselves to have a direct conversation with the victim.
  • The likelihood of victims reaching out versus being identified only during the arrest process.
  • Assistance and services advocates can extend to victims throughout the legal process.
  • The recidivism rate for traffickers and the victims.
  • Community outreach particularly to tattoo artists on the branding put on victims.
  • How traffickers target their victims and what they look for specifically.


Other Webinars with this Presenter


Click here to view and register for other upcoming Victim Advocate/Assistance webinars and recordings on the JCH Platform.



Audience Comments

  • “The Presenter’s depth of knowledge and manner of presentation on such a sensitive topic was OUTSTANDING!!! Thanks.” — Vivian
  • “I attend quarterly webinars to maintain my HT certification; this was one of the best webinars I have attended in some time. Thank you.” — Daniesha
  • “This presenter was very knowledgeable. The videos were wonderful and so much more information is needed on this topic.” — Margaret
  • “Loved that you provided male and female traffickers as examples.” — Sam
  • “This was the best presentation I’ve seen about trafficking. Sara presented about the dynamics of trafficking in a way that anyone could understand and appreciate. She also didn’t belittle victims, which happens all too often. Excellent presenter on an important topic!” — Kathy
  • “Having testimony from a victim, as well as jail calls from a perpetrator, was absolutely critical in establishing the abuse that victims are often put through by the perpetrators, and offered insight into how manipulation is a strong factor in “controlling” victims of sex trafficking. I would absolutely watch another presentation by Sara in the future – she is extremely knowledgeable in her subject. — SarahAlexandra
  • “The presenter was very concise with everything she said, it was easy to follow along and learn all the basic terminology and methodology. I appreciated hearing about the convictions, it provided a sense of relief. Great presentation.” — Halona
  • “Understanding the “bottom” more than I did before. Also, it was good to see that there is justice happening. Plus, she was a very clear presenter with a very human touch. Thanks for this training.” — ANDREA
  • “One of the most interesting webinars I have attended. Thank you!” — Heather
  • “The training was informative and beyond invaluable. The organizational breakdown from the Pimp/Trafficker down to the Victim/Young person was most helpful in understanding the nuances of how it works. The insight will assist me in moving forward and enhance what knowledge I’ve acquired thus far. Thank you!” — Denise
  • “Another Excellent webinar. ( Sex Trafficking is a big problem.)” — Robert



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