Child sex trafficking doesn’t only happen on the other side of the world. Research suggests that there are over 500 kids on Seattle streets alone and the median age of these children is just 13 years old. The problem is growing, and the internet has made detection, protection, and prosecution even harder. StolenYouth champions the cause of the most victimized and vulnerable segment of our society – commercially sexually exploited youth. Most have a history of sexual abuse and come from foster care, or unstable living conditions, making them vulnerable to being coerced and prostituted by pimps.
Trafficked youth require safety, housing, and intensive specialized services to start the healing process and begin the path of recovery. This includes education, employment training, psychological counseling, medical care, and long term housing. Without intervention 77% of prostituted girls will go on to participate in adult prostitution. The death rate among prostituted adults is 40 times that of the national average of adult women. We must ensure that these youth are identified and receive these crucial services before it is too late.
This is the human rights issue of our time and affects every state in America with at least 100,000 to as many as 300,000 children being commercially sexually exploited across the nation. By starting here in Seattle, StolenYouth is creating a successful working model that can be used to effectively address this growing problem in other cities.
We really do have the opportunity with StolenYouth to reach every child out there that is vulnerable to prostitution.Debra Boyer, PhD | Executive Director of the Organization for Prostitution Survivors
StolenYouth is moving the needle on this issue by providing critical financial assistance to our partners, who are innovators in service provision, outreach and research: YouthCare, the Organization for Prostitution Survivors, the Center for Children and Youth Justice, Businesses Against Slavery and Trafficking, and Seattle Against Slavery.
Our grants have enabled these organizations to amplify their message, increase opportunities for collaboration and, ultimately, build their capacity to serve more trafficked youth. We are proud of what our coalition has built: a structured, 24-hour, 7 days a week, statewide response program to provide help to young victims.
Through StolenYouth funded community advocates, 200 more trafficked youth have received services, case management, and housing.
StolenYouth provided critical financing to launch the first state-wide response team connecting the resources of government agencies, law enforcement and non-profits in an effective, coordinated way.
By funding additional trained personnel, StolenYouth have ensured that desperately needed services will expand into South King County.
StolenYouth funds have subsidized the training of over 1500 people working to stop the commercial sexual exploitation of children, including hoteliers, law enforcement, and service providers.
The hundreds of trafficked youth on our streets every night need our help. Demand from sex buyers is everywhere, yet facilities and programs for these youth have been severely cut and vital services are always at risk. With continued support StolenYouth can:
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 combatting child trafficking.
Enable a community advocate to work directly with youth over the long term, building a foundation of trust, and assisting them in their healing and moving forward.
If a society’s strength is measured by how it treats its most vulnerable members, then we must use the power of this community to change the lives of these innocent victims of our local sex trade.