Sex Trafficking and LGBTQ Youth

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Valerie Schmitt
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Date Published: 
May, 2016

Nearly 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, in comparison to 7% of the general population. These youth may face homelessness for different reasons: family rejection, prior abuse or neglect, bullying in school, or social discrimination and marginalization.

Youth without safe shelter and social supports are at higher risk of trafficking and exploitation. Traffickers exploit their needs and vulnerabilities to compel them into sex or labor trafficking. LGBTQ youth may be trafficked by intimate partners, family members, friends, or strangers.

The coercion and control that traffickers hold over their victims, in combination with the stigma of commercial sex, may prevent youth from disclosing their situation. LGBTQ youth may fear the repercussions of reporting their situation, particularly if they worry others will mistreat or not believe them because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. LGBTQ youth service providers may be in a unique position to recognize indicators of sex trafficking among the youth they serve and connect them with much needed services.

Sex Trafficking and LGBTQ Youth, made possible by the generous support of the Palette Fund, provides an introduction to sex trafficking for LGBTQ youth providers and others who are new to the issue of human trafficking. This resource provides indicators of sex trafficking, recommendations on how LGBTQ organizations serving youth can get involved in anti-trafficking efforts, and information on how to get assistance for LGBTQ youth survivors of sex trafficking.

Photo credit: Marc Brüneke / Flickr