Children at risk of losing their housing, or without safe and stable housing, are vulnerable to trafficking. When a family is struggling to pay for rent or their mortgage, it looms as a big bill with big consequences. Youth may feel a sense of obligation to help – even if their family doesn’t ask them for that. Traffickers prey upon this desperation. It’s not only a vulnerability for being trafficked initially, but it’s a massive vulnerability for youth who have already been trafficked to experience revictimization– because when most youth hear their parents say “We need $1,000 by Friday,” they don’t know what they could do about that; but a victim of child sex trafficking knows what they could do.
There’s another way to pay this rent.SEVERAL SURVIVORS IN OUR CARE
WERE TRAFFICKED BY THEIR LANDLORDS.
Children who are experiencing homelessness or displacement are extremely vulnerable to trafficking. This has been the case for many of the children we’ve worked with globally. Youth become homeless due to poverty, fleeing abuse, being kicked out, being abandoned, or immigrating. When a child doesn’t have a place to stay, traffickers will offer shelter in exchange for sex or exploitative labor. And remember: any sex act with a child in exchange for something of value falls within the definition of trafficking.
I either sleep in the park and I don’t know what’s gonna happen to me, or I go home with this guy. And yeah, I knew what was expected of me – but that seemed like a safer option than staying in the park where I had no idea what might happen.A Survivor in our Program
During COVID, many areas have a moratorium on evictions, and while rent may be deferred, in many cases it’s not been cancelled. This growing bill means there’s rising stress and rising vulnerability to predators. In typical times, traffickers often groom children by meeting their emotional needs. Right now, traffickers know that many youth are vulnerable because their basic needs aren’t being met, so they can take advantage of youth by offering to meet their practical and physical needs. Layoffs, reduced hours, and general job scarcity during the pandemic has increased housing insecurity and made youth more vulnerable.
Love146 Works to Address Housing Insecurity By:
- Providing shelter and beautiful safe homes in the Philippines for boys and girls.
- Helping survivors and their families navigate housing support systems. Supporting rent payments for many families during COVID.
- Assisting youth who are “aging out” of child welfare to find housing.
- Intervening and advocating for survivors in our care to have safe housing.
- Giving survivors someone they can turn to even if they have housing instability later in life after they have left our care.
I am so happy here with Love146. I can really focus and study now. I can also take a bath here and don’t get bullied anymore. I can get medicine if I’m sick. Because of this new home, I do not have to be sold on the street.A Survivor in our Program
Additional Resources and Organizations:
Covenant House: They may be in your area and if so, they’re a wonderful resource
Pick up you phone and dial 2-1-1: If you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, please contact your local 2-1-1 hotline for more specific local resources.