Sex trafficking is a modern-day form of SLAVERY. Victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor. Commercial sex acts may be induced by force, fraud or coercion or exploit any child under 18 years of age. Many victims are forced to work off a debt to the trafficker, and are not allowed to leave or contact anyone they know. NOTE: Victims need not be transported from one location to another.
Victims can be anyone!
What are some indicators of Human Trafficking?
Black girls are more likely to experience the risk factors listed above. In addition, studies report that Black girls become trafficked at younger ages than their racial counterparts. They are more likely to experience poverty, and consequently more likely to be disconnected from schools and other community supports Also, younger Black Girls have an increased risk of experiencing abuse due to the fact that children are most likely to experience physical and sexual abuse at young ages and Black girls witness and experience multiple forms of violence at higher rates than their white peers.
According to the FBI, Black children comprise 53% of all juvenile prostitution arrests—more than any other racial group. In a two-year review of all suspected human trafficking incidents across the country, 40% of sex trafficking victims were Black. viii In Los Angeles County, 92% of girls in the juvenile justice system identified as trafficking victims were Black, 62% of those children were from the child welfare system, and 84% were from poor communities in the southeastern part of LA County. In Alameda County, 66% of child sex trafficking survivors identified as Black girls.
Even in communities where a small percentage of the population is Black, Black girls are disproportionately trafficked. For example, in King County, Washington, 84% of child sex trafficking victims are female and 52% are Black, though Black children and adults together only comprise 7% of the general population. In Multnomah County, Oregon, approximately 95% of child sex trafficking victims are female and 27% of child sex trafficking victims are Black, though Black people comprise less than 6% of the population. xii In Louisiana, Black girls account for nearly 49% of child sex trafficking victims, though Black girls comprise approximately 19% of Louisiana’s youth population.
To better understand the high rates of sex trafficking among Black women and girls, research has indicated the continued sexualization of Black women and girls’ bodies which has played out since slavery. The myths around Black women and girls’ hypersexuality cannot be ignored when researching sex trafficking.
Furthermore, the continued treatment of Black girls as older than their age must be explored when looking at the data surrounding the prevalent rates of domestic sex trafficking of Black girls. In addition, the intersecting factors like low socioeconomic status, child welfare involvement, detachment from education, criminal justice involvement, and history of physical/sexual abuse must be addressed.
These factors contribute to the increased vulnerability of sex trafficking. Compared to their racial counterparts, Black women and girls suffer higher rates of these combined factors. The importance of analyzing sex trafficking is evident, but the factors discussed above which contribute to the likelihood of being trafficked are often ignored or overlooked.
In order to create a more comprehensive approach to studying the high rates of sex trafficking among Black women and girls, the intersecting factors must be studied all together. By studying the racial disparities across these particular factors, the blame is placed off victims and the larger structural implications are revealed. The objective of these series of fact sheets is to address the issue of sex trafficking, specifically among the population of Black women and girls. Throughout this series, the fact sheets also aim to highlight the importance of promoting policies which safeguard Black women and girls.
Black girls are more likely to experience poverty than their racial counterparts.
Traffickers tend to target individuals with Black women with a low socioeconomic status.
Due to unemployment, debt, and need to provide for themselves and their children, many victims are less likely to leave the situation to make ends meet.
Sexual and physical abuse are two of the top contributors in increasing the chances of sex trafficking.
Black girls are more likely to experience sexual and physical abuse than their racial counterparts.
Women who experience partner violence pose a higher risk of being sex trafficked. Of women who called the National Hotline, 36.9 percent were trafficked by their partners.
Along with psychological and economic abuse, sex traffickers are likely to employ physical and sexual violence over women to maintain control.
Child welfare involvement, specifically out-of-home foster care placement, is one of the top contributors in increasing the chances of sex trafficking.
Black children are overrepresented in the foster care system. Although they make up fourteen percent of children in the U.S., Black children make up twenty three percent of the foster care system. More than 23,000 children will age out of the U.S. foster care system every year. After reaching the age of 18, 20% of the children who are in foster care will become instantly homeless.
A report conducted in 2016 by NCMEC found that 86% of the likely sex trafficking victims were in the care of social services when they went missing.
Not only are Black children overrepresented in foster care, but they are structurally disadvantaged by systematic racial disparities within the foster care system.
Foster children are 10 times more likely to be sexually abused. Black children are sexually abused twice as much as their White counterparts in the foster care system.
California is ranked as having the highest number of reported cases of human trafficking in the U.S. The largest county in California, Los Angeles County, reported 92% of girls in the juvenile justice system identified as victims of sex trafficking are Black. Of those, 62% were from the child welfare system.
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