Frequently Asked Questions
About Child Trafficking
Child trafficking is defined as the “recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act” in which the person is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident under the age of 18 years.
Current estimates are 100,000 - 300,000 in the US but these numbers are surely under-reported. With the rise of the Internet and the secret nature of the crime, it is often difficult to detect and report.
In the Seattle/King County area the numbers are over 500 prostituted youth annually we suspect that these numbers are under-reported as well.
The median age is 13 for girls, 14 for boys. However, our advocates continually reporting getting referrals for 11 and 12 year old children.
Runaways, homeless youth, and those in foster care are particularly vulnerable to being coerced into prostitution. Over 90% of victims have a history of previous sexual abuse.
States are stepping up the quality and prevalence of anti-sex trafficking legislation, making it easier to prosecute offenders and help victims. Washington and King County are national leaders in the fight to stop the sexual exploitation of children. In 2014 the Polaris Project gave Washington State a perfect score for our work in establishing a comprehensive legal framework that combats trafficking, punishes the traffickers, and focuses on providing support and services to survivors.
As an example, this year the King County Prosecuting Office launched Buyer Beware: a formal partnership with StolenYouth, our grantees OPS and BEST, and law enforcement. Buyer Beware is a multifaceted approach that shifts the criminalization of victims of trafficking to prosecuting the buyers of children.
Our journey started with the award-winning book, SOLD by Patricia McCormick, that tells the story of a Nepali girl sold into the brothels of India. Inspired by this heartbreaking story, we were moved to join the fight to put a stop to human trafficking.
By raising awareness and money to fund our partners - a coalition of the most innovative service providers and researchers in Washington State - StolenYouth supports the rescue and recovery of sexually exploited youth between the ages of 12 and 24 in the area.
When we learned of this problem happening in our own backyard we set out to affect real and lasting change. While we considered constructing a safe house, after meeting with local field experts we learned that there were already established organizations successfully providing much needed services. We saw that our efforts would have the greatest impact if we could expand, strengthen, and secure their life saving programming. Working as a team creates a collaborative and thoughtful approach that brings sustainable and system-wide change to our community.
The Center for Children and Youth Justice
Developed and implemented a first of its kind, statewide data collection effort aimed at counting the number of identified sexually exploited youth across Washington.
Organization for Prostitution Survivors
Provides drop in services for young survivors as well as support groups that meet weekly.
Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking
Educates and trains hoteliers across the state on how to recognize and report trafficking victims within their hotels.
YouthCare: Their Bridge Continuum Program
The Bridge Continuum Program provides the only statewide programming with wrap around services including case managers, safe housing, education, outreach, and vocational training to prostituted young girls.
With your generous donation StolenYouth and our coalition will:
• Increase availability and access to the best housing and program options.
• Expand employment training and opportunities.
• Continue essential data collection used to identify at-risk youth.
• Support an effective, coordinated, system-wide approach to the issue