Homelessness, Survival Sex, and Human Trafficking: As Experienced by the Youth of Covenant House New York

Homelessness, Survival Sex, and Human Trafficking: As Experienced by the Youth of Covenant House New York

Nearly one in four homeless youth is likely to have been a victim of human trafficking or to have engaged in "survival sex," a report from Covenant House New York finds. Based on a survey of the organization's clients, Homelessness, Survival Sex and Human Trafficking: As Experienced by the Youth of Covenant House New York (28 pages, PDF) found that nearly 15 percent had experienced some form of sex (12 percent) or labor (2.9 percent) trafficking, often at the hands of immediate family members or boyfriends. In addition, 8.1 percent of those at least 18 years old had engaged in a sex act such as prostitution, stripping, or pornography to secure a basic need (most commonly, shelter). In addition to homelessness, risk factors for victimization include childhood sexual abuse; absence of a caring, supportive adult in a victim's life; and lack of education or the means to earn an income. The report also offers policy recommendations for helping victims of trafficking, including extending protections for potential victims beyond the age of 18, strengthening legal definitions of sex trafficking, and providing employment and educational training programs for homeless youth.