Our Cause

Children Are Not for Sale

 

Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) or domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) includes:

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

  • survival sex for food, shelter, or money

  • trading of sex for drugs or alcohol

  • being the subject of pornography

  • working as a stripper, in massage parlors, in escort services

  • child marriage

Sexual Violence Pipeline

  • 1 in 7 youth between the ages of 10 and 18 will run away (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2013). Most are running from abuse or neglect. In 2019, 102,968 children were homeless nation wide (Housing and Urban Development, 2019).

 

  • 75% of runaways are female (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2013). LGBTQ+ youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than their cisgender or heterosexual peers (Focus on Youth, 2018).

 

Physical & Emotional Trauma

  • The average lifespan once in the sex trade is 7 years (U.S. Department of State, 2014). The most common causes of death are HIV and homicide (FBI, 2015).

  • 83% of prostitutes are assaulted with a weapon (Farley, 2009).

Criminalizing Victims

 

  • In 2008, New York became the first state to enact Safe Harbor legislation, treating minors in prostitution as victims instead of criminals.

  • In 2014, 580 minors were arrested for prostitution in the United States (FBI's Uniform Crime Report).

  • It costs $88,000 annually to detain a child in the juvenile justice system (Justice Policy Institute, 2009).

Recovery & Restoration

 

Since 2003, the FBI's Innocence Lost National Initiative has recovered more than 6,600 children from sexual exploitation.

"That’s the problem. We don’t have enough places. We have the governor’s council … and all these laws to say it’s child abuse and someone has to do something, and we recover them and then we have nowhere to put them, nowhere to keep them safe. We’ve got a gazillion children, where do we put them? There are not enough safe places for these kids."

                                                     - Excerpt from CO Project 2.0

 

In the United States, there are just 8 residential programs for these young survivors.

  *Streetlight USA (Arizona)      *Avanti House (Colorado)

  *Sarah's Home (Colorado)      *Receiving Hope Center (Georgia)

  *Wellspring Living (Georgia)  *GEMS (New York) 

  *Gracehaven (Ohio)                  *Grace House (Oregon)

  *Resilience Rising (Virgin Islands, 2022)