Wednesday, December 3, 2014


This information is taken from the UMW Action Network. I have edited it somewhat, but there is so much information that people need, that I was unable to keep it on one sheet. Therefore, this sheet is the information per se and will fit in the customary portrait, two column format. I will explain the second sheet on that post.

Human traffickers prey on the vulnerable and marginalized in society. The Polaris Project, an organization dedicated to eradicating this form of modern day slavery from the planet, lists child runaways and homeless youth as targets for pimps and traffickers to be exploited in the commercial sex industry or various labor or services industries: “…sex traffickers are skilled at manipulating child victims and maintaining control through a combina tion of deception, lies, feigned affection, threats, and violence.”
It is estimated that 85% of confirmed sex trafficking victims in the world are in the United States, and most of them are runaway children.[ii] The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) estimates that “there are an estimated 200,000 American children at risk for trafficking into the sex industry alone.” Research studies conducted by Department of Health and Human Services supported the fact that traffickers target children with low self-esteem and social support, and indicated that, “These traits are highly prevalent among young people experiencing homelessness or those in foster care, due to their histories of abuse, neglect, and trauma.”[v]
The following statistics reveal the connection between homeless youth and human trafficking in America. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) estimates that 1.3 million youth live on the streets in the U.S. due to running away from home, being abandoned, or becoming homeless. On average, these boys and girls are solicited for sex within 72 hours of being on the street. The ACF also estimates that 55% of girls on the street engage in formal prostitution and 20% of girls end up in nationally organized crime networks where they are forced to travel far from their homes and they are isolated from loved ones.[vi]
The National Alliance estimates that approximately 39,000 children who experience homelessness or leave their homes are sexually assaulted or experience youth trafficking. To further complicate matters, these child victims, can often be treated as criminals because of law enforcement practices:.”[viii]
Federal law defines human trafficking as the use of force, fraud, or coercion in situations of forced labor for services or any time a child is found in the commercial sex industry. The ACYF letter points to the responsibility of general citizens in identifying potential situations of trafficking: “For example, victims of child trafficking may attend school, participate in other social activities, or have contact with neighbors and community members who may be in positions to help identify situations of child trafficking.”[ix] The following true story from a U.S. DOJ case provides an illustration of labor trafficking with a young girl:
In 2006, a wife and husband in Lakewood, Washington, pleaded guilty to charges of forced labor after bringing their 12-year-old niece to the United States on promises that she will attend school in exchange for childcare and housework. The victim was forced to cook, clean, provide childcare, and work at the defendant’s coffee shop twelve to fourteen hours a day. The child was physically abused, threatened with deportation, not paid for her work at the coffee shop, and attended school for only a short time. The child escaped with the help of friends and a community-based organization.”[x]
In response, states are taking action through new legislation and coalitions to provide appropriate training for law enforcement and social work officials.  In the state of Texas, the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance was formed to provide collaboration between law enforcement agencies and non-governmental organizations that work to address the needs of victims. “It is one of five Bureau of Justice Associates (BJA) funded task forces throughout Texas and forty-two across the country. The collaboration of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies works with social service organizations to identify and assist the victims of human trafficking and to prosecute the perpetrators of these horrific crimes.”[xi]
Other states have begun similar initiatives intended to end child prostitution through research, prevention, intervention, and education.[xii]
To respond at the federal level, H.R. 5076, the Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims of Youth Trafficking Act of 2014. requires government officials to give priority to projects related to staff training in the behavioral and emotional effects of trafficking, as well as any agency-wide strategies for working with runaway and homeless youth who have been victimized by trafficking. S. 2646, the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act requires local emergency shelter and family reunification centers to offer trauma-informed services to run away and homeless youth and would extend the maximum stay period for these youth from 21 days to 30 days.[xvi]
Because this crime is so widespread, it is clear that governments will need to continue to work with and rely on professional trauma-support and counseling services from shelters and other non-government organizations to best meet the needs of victims.

For more information contact: Susie Johnson – WASHINGTON OFFICE OF PUBLIC POLICY 100 Maryland Avenue, NE Suite 100 20002:

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