Runaways and at-risk youth are targeted by pimps and traffickers for exploitation in the commercial sex industry or different labor or services industries.
Pimps and sex traffickers are skilled at manipulating child victims and maintaining control through a combination of deception, lies, feigned affection, threats, and violence.
The average age of entry into prostitution for a child victim in the United States is 13-14 years old. (U.S. Department of Justice)
- Approximately 300,000 children are at risk of being prostituted in the United States. (U.S. Department of Justice)
- One in three teens on the street will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. (National Runaway Hotline)
- More than half of the girls (57%) involved in prostitution stated that someone outside of the family sexually abused them.
Children can live at home and be sexually exploited. Pimps often target children with low self-esteem and/or a dysfunctional or absent parental figures. Coming off as a love-interest, they soon force (often beating, drugging) their victims to have sex with other people. Talk to your children about the dangers of older teens/young men that are quick to show interest in them or their peers. Know the signs of victimization, and let your children know to tell you if they see any of these signs in a fellow peer. Trafficking happens everywhere – from the cities to the suburbs. Men seeking prostitutes (sadly, yes, specifically children) come from all walks of life.
Sections on this page have been adapted from TheMamaBearEffect