While there aren’t just 10 vulnerabilities, risk factors, or causes of child trafficking, here are some things that can increase a child’s risk for trafficking victimization:
Experiences that can increase vulnerability:
- Prior sexual abuse
- Physical and emotional abuse
- Homelessness and poverty
- Youth with family and friends who have been trafficked
- Displacement (due to war, natural disaster)
- Unstable family conditions or family rejection
These experiences can contribute to these risk factors that can increase vulnerability:
- System involvement (child welfare or juvenile justice)
- Running away or truancy
- Mental health disorders
- Substance use/abuse
An 11th factor to consider is that being a child is an inherent vulnerability – and traffickers exploit vulnerabilities. Children’s brains are still developing, and they are often dependent on adults to meet their basic needs. The law also doesn’t afford them the same rights as adults.
Love146 is journeying with children who’ve already been hurt by trafficking, and our curriculum Not a Number is in communities across the country preventing child trafficking from impacting more youth. To learn more in depth about trafficking, check out one of several webinars in a series here.