Title

Populations of Youth at High-Risk for Sex Trafficking

First Presenter's Institution

Shared Hope International

Second Presenter's Institution

NA

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Poster Session (Harborside)

Strand #1

Safety & Violence Prevention

Strand #2

Mental & Physical Health

Relevance

Victims of sex trafficking and other forms of human trafficking often suffer from violence. Many rescued survivors have or have had broken bones, bruises, head trauma, pregnancies, abortions, sexually transmitted diseases and incontinence. They need immediate medical attention.

There are also various psychological, emotional and mental problems associated with being a victim of trafficking that need to be addressed. A high rate of suicide has been reported among victims and survivors.

Brief Program Description

This presentation will define human trafficking which includes labor trafficking, sex trafficking and debt bondage, and the trafficking of human organs to name a few. The focus for this presentation will be on the sex trafficking of at-risk minors and the factors that make certain populations of these youth very vulnerable to the tactics used by traffickers to lure victims. Safety measures will also be presented.

Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  1. Define human trafficking.
  2. Recognize the specifics of sex trafficking.
  3. Understand that certain populations of youth are at high risk for trafficking .
  4. Identify specific factors the cause youth to be placed at high risk for trafficking.
  5. Recognize the need to educate the general public on the issue of human trafficking and measures that must be taken to ensure the safety of our at-risk youth.

Summary

Human trafficking essentially is modern day slavery. Traffickers us force, fraud and/or coercion to exploit their victims. Victims are forced to engage in commercial sex acts, some type of labor involuntarily or find themselves in a debt bondage situation.

It is estimated that in the United States between 100,000 to 300,000 youth are at risk of becoming victims of sex trafficking at any one time. Sex trafficking of minors has occurred in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories. Roughly one third of victims are boys. In the state of Georgia alone, it is estimated that 100 youth are sexually exploited every night and 5,000 are at risk of becoming a sex trafficked victim.

According to the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, the sex trafficking of minors in the United States is an often overlooked, misunderstood and unaddressed form of child abuse. Victims of sex trafficking suffer many long-term social, legal and health consequences. Health consequences include both physical, mental and emotional issues.

This presentation focuses on the sex trafficking of special populations of youth who are at particular risk of falling prey to the tactics used by traffickers. While any child can become a victim of sex trafficking, there are certain populations that are at greater risk. For example, youth who are in foster care, who are runaways, who are homeless, who feel unloved and neglected are more vulnerable to the tactics traffickers use to ensnare victims. In addition, youth who are substance abusers or who have been abused previously are very susceptible to trafficking as are the LGBTQ community and those with physical or mental disabilities.

There are several safety measures that can be taught to our youth that will help keep them safe from trafficking such as Internet safety; signs to look for in public; safety precautions to take while at parties and proms. They need to learn the tactics used by traffickers to lure victims.

Various professionals such as medical personnel, school personnel, therapists, law enforcement officers, judges, politicians as well as parents and caregivers need to be educated about sex trafficking. Our youth also need strong educational instruction regarding this crime. This is a step toward the prevention of this crime.

Evidence

It is important to remember that due to the “underground” nature of the crime of human trafficking, specific numbers of victims are difficult to come by. Several organizations/agencies and research studies on the subject of human trafficking often present estimated statistics regarding human trafficking.

It is estimated that most United States youth who are victims of sex trafficking come from our child welfare system (National Foster Youth Institute). Many foster children are runaways, have experienced previous abuse, poverty and feelings of being “thrown away.” Many feel unloved and have very low self-esteem. Any child with these factors are especially vulnerable to trafficking.

Studies by the Field Center for Children’s Policy have found human trafficking among homeless youth to be very prevalent. Research from Covenant House International shows s disproportionate number of sex trafficked youth among homeless LGBTQ youth. Homelessness among our youth in this country must be addressed. President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget request for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was a 13.2% decrease which creates further obstacles for the safety of our homeless youth.

Other factors that put youth at high risk include poverty, mental illness, and living in high crime-rate neighborhoods. Additionally, being exposed to the glorification of pimp culture, the objectification of girls and women, community violence, the presence of gangs and widespread use the Internet and social media are other factors that put our youth at greater risk of sex trafficking.

The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities have reported several cases of trafficking that involve individuals with disabilities. These individuals frequently have deficits in their ability to communicate effectively, to discern who is safe to be around and the ability to protect themselves.

It is our responsibility to ensure the safety of all youth in this country from crimes such as human trafficking. The education of our politicians, professionals, parents and the public in general is key to this process.

One urgently needed solution to the general problem of sex trafficking in this country is to institute educational formats within our schools. We need to go beyond “good touch, bad touch” and “stranger danger” with our students. Our youth today need to know the dangers, how traffickers operate and safety measures they can take to help keep themselves safe.

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Now retired, Dr. Karen Lambie taught for a total of 32 years at both the elementary school and university levels. She has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Georgia, an M.S. in Middle School Science including endorsement for Gifted Education from Georgia Southern University and a B.A. in Elementary Education also from Georgia Southern University. At the elementary level, she taught in a program for gifted students in Bulloch County (QUEST) and at the university level, she taught educational psychology and courses for teachers to become endorsed to teach gifted students. During her teaching career she conducted presentations at various conferences on Brain Based Learning, Multiple Intelligences and Emotional Intelligence. Before retiring in 2010, she made the decision to dedicate the rest her life to work for social change and to raise awareness concerning human rights violations. She served on the Board of Directors for Savannah Working Against Human Trafficking (SWAHT) for three years, volunteers for Prevent Child Abuse Bulloch County, is an Ambassador of Hope for Shared Hope International, serves on a task force for the Savannah Rape Crisis Center, serves on the Mayor's Commission for Youth in Statesboro, Georgia, serves on the planning committee for the Savannah Traffick Jam Conference on human trafficking and was a foster parent for Bulloch County DEFACs for 14 years. She is currently the Vice President for Region 12 for the Adoptive and Foster Parent Association of Georgia. She has spoken throughout the state of Georgia on the issue of Human Trafficking most specifically the sex trafficking of minors. Speaking engagements have included trainings for foster parents, CASA, medical personnel, guidance counselors, churches, civic clubs, the hospitality industry, schools and youth groups. She has also spoken at the Traffick Jam Conference, the state conference for the Adoptive and Foster Parent Association of Georgia and the Georgia Conference on children and Families. She lives in Statesboro, Georgia with her husband, Tom Lambie.

Keyword Descriptors

Youth, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking, Special Populations

Presentation Year

March 2019

Start Date

3-5-2019 4:00 PM

End Date

3-5-2019 5:30 PM

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Mar 5th, 4:00 PM Mar 5th, 5:30 PM

Populations of Youth at High-Risk for Sex Trafficking

Poster Session (Harborside)

This presentation will define human trafficking which includes labor trafficking, sex trafficking and debt bondage, and the trafficking of human organs to name a few. The focus for this presentation will be on the sex trafficking of at-risk minors and the factors that make certain populations of these youth very vulnerable to the tactics used by traffickers to lure victims. Safety measures will also be presented.

Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  1. Define human trafficking.
  2. Recognize the specifics of sex trafficking.
  3. Understand that certain populations of youth are at high risk for trafficking .
  4. Identify specific factors the cause youth to be placed at high risk for trafficking.
  5. Recognize the need to educate the general public on the issue of human trafficking and measures that must be taken to ensure the safety of our at-risk youth.