Why pronouns are important & how LGBTQ+ communities Intersect with human Trafficking

Why are Pronouns Important?

In our pursuit of ending child trafficking, we do what is best for children, and this guides our organization toward its goal of inclusiveness, accessibility, and equity. Providing transformative services, developing outcomes-focused solutions, and challenging society’s response requires our continual pursuit of a world which values and dignifies all individuals.

Love146 strives to operationalize both our values and commitment to equity for all staff, board of directors, volunteers, and all other key collaborators and partners in the work. This commitment to equity comes with embracing our authentic selves, something we are learning about from the LGBTQ community. Including pronouns in email signatures is one step we are taking to helping normalize discussions about gender, opening up conversations for non-binary people to share the pronouns they use, preventing assumptions about a person’s gender, and promoting inclusivity. Love146’s practice of the use of personal pronouns is both a form of respect and an acknowledgment of people’s identities.

How do LGBTQ+ Communities Intersect with Human Trafficking?

Although all youth experience vulnerabilities, certain demographics, such as LGBTQ+ youth, are at a higher risk; due to a lack of support systems and resources, increased likeliness to experience discrimination and abuse, and economic instability. Traffickers specialize in identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities. Trans people experience higher rates of discrimination, violence, and homelessness, and we know that people who experience these vulnerabilities are at a higher risk of trafficking.

There is complexity as to why the anti-trafficking movement doesn’t have accurate or more data on the correlation between gender identity and trafficking. Firstly, there is underreporting; gender misclassification by law enforcement, social services, and researchers; exclusion and ineligibility from services or resources for trafficking victims; transphobia, racism, sexism, classism, etc.; criminalization of trans people; and policies and funding which exclude people outside of the gender binary. Secondly, not everyone identifies within the gender binary, and research about human trafficking is often divided only between women/girls and men/boys. This means any research on gender identity and its correlation to trafficking is extremely limited, as data is often clustered under the LGBTQ+ umbrella without providing disaggregated data on transgender, nonbinary, or genderqueer folks. Research which does include trans people often ends up excluding them from the final analysis due to limited sample sizes or assumptions that their experiences are exceptional or too different from other victims’. There is virtually no data on gender nonconforming, genderqueer, or non-binary individuals that isn’t grouped under data on trans people.