Sex Trafficking: Lost Youth

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The Lost Youth of America Every day in the United States runaway/throwaway teens are trafficked for commercial sex. Homeless teens are especially vulnerable to sex traffickers. This population uses sex as a survival mechanism, trading sex for shelter and food. Pimps recognize this vulnerability and utilize it to recruit and exploit minors. Teen homelessness is alarmingly high in the United States. “Approximately 1.6 million youth ages twelve to seventeen had run away from home and slept on the street in the past twelve months.” ( Fifty-percent of those teens will be trafficked for sex in the first forty-eight hours of leaving home. (National Runaway Hotline) Members of society often think that runaway kids are disobedient and rebellious, preferring to live on the streets rather than following the rules. The most prevalent reason children and teens runaway is because of the maltreatment they experience at the hands of parents or caregivers. Eighty percent of runaway and homeless girls reported having ever been sexually or physically abused. Thirty-four percent of runaway youth (girls and boys) reported sexual abuse before leaving home and forty-three percent of runaway youth (girls and boys) reported physical abuse before leaving home.( ( Juveniles believe that running away is a better alternative than remaining in an abusive home. A large portion of homeless teens are throwaway teens. Throwaway teens are youth who have been expelled from their homes or abandoned by their caregivers or parents. Many of these youth are rejected because of their sexual orientation. The National Coalition for the Homeless report that forty percent of the homeless teen population identify as LGBT. Victor Lopez a former throwaway teen describes his experiences in an article he wrote for the Huffington Post titled “Thrown
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