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Sexual Exploitation

(Polaris Project National Trafficking Hotline Statistics, 2021)



Commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) and

domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) include:

  • being prostituted by a family member, boyfriend, or pimp 

  • survival sex for food, shelter, or money

  • trading of sex for drugs or alcohol

  • legally defined as trafficking if under 18yo (CSEC)

  • being the subject of pornography

  • stripping; illicit massage parlors; escort services

  • child marriage; mail order bride

  • sexual exploitation through religion

  • sexual exploitation of refugee/immigrant

  • sexual exploitation as act of war


Risk Factors

  • In 2020, 102,766 children were homeless nation wide. Many were homeless because of abuse and neglect.


  • LGBTQ+ youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than their cisgender or heterosexual peers.

  • Black youth are 83% more likely to experience homelessness than their non-Black peers.

  • 29% of homeless youth were in foster care.


  • 70% of street youth are victims of sexual exploitation.

  • 79% of domestic sex trafficking victims are identified as female.

  • The top five risk factors include: migration/relocation, mental/physical health, substance use, unstable housing, runaway homeless youth.


Health Outcomes

  • 12% of adults in prostitution report physical injuries from violence: bruises, abrasions, missing teeth, broken bones.


  • 24% of adults in prostitution report reproductive health problems: STDs, UTIs, pregnancy complications, infertility.

  • 68% of adults in prostitution meet criteria for PTSD. 

  • 33% of trafficked children have a history of self-harm or suicide attempts.

  • According to the FBI, the average lifespan once in the sex trade is 7 years.

  • The top causes of premature death among prostituted persons include: homicide, suicide, substance-related problems, and HIV. The homicide rate is 17 times higher than non-prostituted females.



  • 79% of adults in the sex trade were under 18yo when the trafficking began.


  • According to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), anyone under 18yo in the sex trade is a victim of trafficking.

  • 89% of prostituted persons want to escape the sex trade but lack other options for survival.

  • Safe Harbor laws recognize youth in prostitution as victims instead of criminals.

  • The Equality Model decriminalizes the selling of sex but maintains criminalization for buyers, pimps, and traffickers.

equality model.jpeg

Residential Programs

  • 89% of prostituted persons want to escape the sex trade but lack other options for survival.​


  • The 89% list the following as barriers to exiting: safe housing (75%), healthcare (61%), counseling (56%), drug/alcohol treatment (47%), job training (76%), legal assistance (51%), childcare (44%).



    • GEMS (minors, adults)

*To add your residential program for CSE survivors
to this list, please email us.

101 S Topanga Canyon Blvd, PO Box 805, Topanga, CA 90290-9998

(310) 488-8195

To report concerns or seek help for a potential trafficking situation,
call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

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