Trafficking facts and myths

There are many misconceptions about youth exploitation and abuse, which helps keep these issues alive. To make real change, we must immerse ourselves in the facts and become more educated on these topics.

Economic disparities and sexual exploitation are completely unrelated issues closely intertwined.

The conditions most likely to lead to exploitation are economic vulnerability and its intersections and lack of social support. Ensuring that young people have their social, emotional, and economic needs met is the most effective way to create sustainable change.

Many people look at me and would never assume the horrors I endured as a child. I use my story to shatter the ideas of what a pimp and victim looks like.”

– Dorsey Jones, Survivor, Author, youthSpark Case Manager

Exploitation happens in other countries close to home

Believe it or not, exploitation is occurring much closer to home than you may think. It may look different in different parts of the world, but one thing remains the same — trauma-exposed youth who are experiencing poverty, child abuse, neglect, or sexual, gender, or racial discrimination are the most vulnerable.

Atlanta is the #1 sex trafficking location likely to have high rates of trafficking or exploitation.

In 2005, Atlanta was listed as one of the top 14 cities with the highest incidence of exploited children, documented in a FBI report. Because of the challenges in finding reliable national statistics on this issue, we have to look to other indicators, such as high rates of income inequality and youth homelessness.

Trafficking only occurs when there’s a “pimp” on the streets controlling victims online and on the streets and doesn’t always involve a “pimp”.

Commercial sexual exploitation of children can happen even when there’s not a “pimp”, and “recruiting” doesn’t even need to happen on the streets. In fact, it’s becoming more popular for exploiters to lure youth online by taking advantage of their vulnerabilities.

Everyone only girls are is at-risk of being trafficked.

There is no singular victim profile, and trafficking can happen to anyone regardless of their race, sexuality, or gender. In fact, sometimes it may be more difficult for boys to tell others about their trafficking experiences due to gender norms. There are certain risk factors that make someone more vulnerable like being homeless, a runaway, LGBTQ+, or a child with trauma history.

Youth involved in the sex trade have accepted it as being a part of their lives because it’s how they survive often want to stop in the immediate or near future.

Although most youth want to stop sex trading, there are two main barriers associated with their exit: meaningful economic opportunities and social support. At youthSpark, we strive to empower our youth with a solid support system and the tools to build their own path, including education advocacy and economic stability.

Learn the signs