The Hope Refuge® vision is dedicated to seeing that every sex trafficking survivor has a place of refuge where they can transition from slavery to freedom.
At least 100,000 to 300,000 American youth are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation annually in the U.S. (Estes and Wiener, 2001)
DID YOU KNOW?
According to the 2020 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, released in February by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the share of children among detected trafficking persons has tripled while the share of boys has increased five times in the past 15 years.
WHY SUPPORT US?
THESE ARE OUR CHILDREN
THE AVERAGE AGE OF ENTRY INTO THE SEX TRADE INDUSTRY IN THE USA IS JUST 12 YEARS OLD.
(US Department of Justice, Child Exploration and Obscenity Section)
Are you aware of the crises in America? Click to learn more.
- The average age of entry into the commercial sex industry in the U.S. is 12 years old. (U.S. Department of Justice, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section)
- 1 in 3 teens will be recruited by a pimp within 48 hours of leaving home and becoming homeless.
- At least 100,00 to 300,000 American youth are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation annually in the U.S. (Estes and Wiener, 2001)
- Once a minor, who is a victim of the sex traffic trade, is identified and rescued, there are few appropriate safe placements and homes available for them. (National Report on Domestic Sex Trafficking)
- Human trafficking involves the act of recruiting, transporting, harboring, or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion, or other means for the purposes of exploiting them.
- After drugs, the trafficking of humans ranks second as the most common organized crime generating billions of dollars a year. (UN)
- The Federal Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 defines sex trafficking as “a commercial sex act induced by force, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such acts has not attained 18 years of age.”
- The majority of those trafficked are women and children, with minors under the age of 18 being the most vulnerable (Congressional Research Services Report to Congress).
- 80-90 percent of sexually exploited children have a history of child sexual abuse.
- The National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Throwaway (NISMART) children estimate that 1.6 million children run away from home each year in the U.S.
THE NEED FOR PROGRAMS AND SAFE FACILITIES
The “National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking” states that there are a few facilities in the U.S. with programs that specifically address the complex issues that a sexually trafficked child faces. It is estimated that there are thousands of children in Los Angeles and Orange counties alone who are victims of sex trafficking. The “National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking” further states that more than 100,000 minors are being trafficked for sex in many major cities across the U.S. There are limited resources available to help survivors break free from the cycle of commercial sexual exploitation. Facilities that provide safety for survivors traumatized by the abuse in the sex traffic industry are critical.
BE AWARE OF HOW YOU CAN BE GROOMED FOR
HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?
The commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth in our country is a complex and difficult issue to understand. Many often ask, “How does a child or youth get involved and trapped in forced prostitution?” One of the most common ways is through coercion and manipulation, otherwise known as “grooming”. Listed below are some of the tactics that are utilized by predators (pimps) to take advantage of a young person as well as signs that someone is being “groomed”. Please read this and pass it on.
BE AWARE OF HOW YOU CAN BE GROOMED
What is grooming?
Grooming is a process by which victims are lured. How does a trafficker do this? By befriending and building trust with you. A trafficker will take a special interest in you to create a relationship. This is generally in the form of a relationship as a boyfriend/girlfriend, as a mentor, or as a friend.
They tend to use secrecy, blame, gifts, or threats of violence to keep you from telling somebody. They are doing this because they know if you tell someone what they are doing that they will no longer have power or control over you.
AM I BEING GROOMED?
- Have they ever said, “If you love me, you’d do it?”
- Have they ever said “Everyone else is doing it?”
- Have you ever been put down for your values or found your values being challenged?
- Do you feel more isolated since being in this relationship?
- Do they give you gifts or do things for you that may seem excessive?
- Do they provide you with alcohol or drugs?
- Do they have a permanent address?
- Are there other women living in their house?
- Do they encourage you to meet with them by yourself or in secret?
- Have you met their family or friends?
- Do they have a regular job that they discuss with you and go to?
- Do you find yourself being pressured into saying or doing things that make you feel uncomfortable?
- Have they created any secrecy around your relationship?
- Have they ever asked about your sexual experiences, any fantasies you have, or how you might feel about doing certain sexual things?
- Do they ask you to be on video/webcam so they can see your private parts?
- Have they somehow gained access to things that you have not shared with them?
- Are they offering to get you a job? Even a job out of town?
VALUES AND BOUNDARIES
Knowing your values and boundaries will help you when you feel under pressure. Think through each question and know how to respond. This will prepare you for healthy relationships.
“If you love me, you’d do it.” No. If you love me, you (a) wouldn’t have just said that, and (b) would respect my decision.
“Everyone else is doing it.” Well, I’m not everyone else.
“You’re square.” No. I’m just comfortable with who I am and what I want.
Remember, being groomed is generally under the disguise of your boyfriend or girlfriend. If your answer is yes to any of these questions, find a person whom you can trust (best if they are adult) and be transparent with them about your relationship. If you have even the slightest uneasiness about the relationship, reach out to that trusted person for help.
WHAT ARE SOME INDICATORS FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING?
Indicators for human trafficking?
- Living with employer
- Poor living conditions
- Inability to speak to any individual alone
- Employer is holding identity documents
- Unpaid or paid very little
- Signs of physical abuse
- Submissive or fearful
- They have a tattoo (i.e. “Daddy”, $ sign, a crown, money bag, bar code)
- Under 18 and in prostitution
- Answers appear to be scripted and rehearsed
Hope Refuge® is a 501c3 nonprofit organization established in 2013 in response to the growing awareness of the crisis in America involving children and young adults who are being trafficked in the commercial sex industry. There are thousands of American-born children and youth who are being sold for sex in many cities across America. There are few resources that address the trauma experienced by those who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
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