- Homelessness is one of the largest contributing factors toward the trafficking of youth. A recent study of homeless youth in NYC found that nearly half of those youth (48%) have become involved in commercial sexual exploitation because they had no place to stay. Survival sex (sex in exchange for a room for the night or for food) is especially common within this demographic.
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning (LGBTQ) youth are disproportionately affected by homelessness (20-40% of the United States’ 1.7 million homeless minors).
- Homelessness results in an extreme lack of safety for women who don’t have shelter, 90% of whom say that they have been sexually assaulted. In one study, 13% of the homeless women surveyed reported having been raped within the past 12 months.
- The winter months in cold climates lead to greater amounts of sexual exploitation for women, simply because sleeping out of doors is no longer an option, and women are more likely to choose commercial sexual exploitation out of desperation.
Knowing these facts, here are a few actions that we all can take to make a difference:
To one of the many great organizations in the United States providing housing and services for people experiencing homelessness. We recommend donating to National Alliance to End Homelessness, Stand Up for Kids, or The National Coalition for the Homeless.
One way to participate this holiday season is by shopping MY SISTER’s #GivingWarmthShirtByShirt campaign. Do a little Christmas shopping for your loved ones, and we’ll donate an item of warmth such as socks, a hat, or gloves, to one of our non profit partners working with homeless youth and women. These gifts will help keep youth and women in need warm, as well as show them that they’re loved and cared for.
We love these practical ideas for putting together care packs for people experiencing homelessness. Keep a few in your car this winter! For women experiencing homelessness, periods are difficult to deal with without access to proper hygiene items (check out this moving piece from Bustle), so we’d recommend including tampons or pads in your care packs.
1 - Homeless Teen Issues - Human Trafficking