Commercial sexual exploitation remains a major problem among the young in the United States, with an estimated 100,000 U.S. children trafficked annually, experts say.

“The majority of the victims that we’re finding who are child sex-trafficking victims are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents,” said Sarah Vardaman, senior director of Shared Hope International.

Vardaman’s comment came at a live webcast hosted by Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. The event focused on the reasons minors and young adults are sexually exploited in the U.S. in such great numbers.

“The sexual entertainment and the sexualization of our culture is encouraging a growing number of people who are demanding these services. And so, if we want to look at the factors of supply and demand, then we would say [the sex trafficking industry] is growing,” said Vardaman, whose organization seeks to rescue and restore women and children victimized by trafficking.

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