Over a year ago, we started to share what we’ve been learning about how race is connected to child trafficking and exploitation. We’ve continued to talk about it during this racially charged time because we think it’s important. Generally speaking, our stakeholders have been supportive and even anxious to learn and grow. But we can’t deny that in these polarized days, everything seems “political” and a few of our supporters have also raised concerns that we are creating division.
We think it’s important to acknowledge that racism and the exploitation of children are connected. For the children we serve, speaking this truth honors their stories. Beyond their stories, we know that racism and trafficking are connected by looking at the data — both data we collect as part of our programmatic work and data widely available within the movement.
In 2018, 210 children were referred to Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families because they were at high-risk for or confirmed victims of human trafficking — 153 of those children were children of color. That’s 73%. In Connecticut, where we work directly with survivors, we’ve found that children of color are 3.5x more likely to be victimized in trafficking than their white peers.
This is not unique to Connecticut. We have found data from California, Louisiana, Oregon, and Washington that have all shown children of color are trafficked at a higher rate than their white counterparts. The truth is that data also shows that children of color have worse outcomes in almost every system of our society – education, health, child welfare, juvenile justice, etc. — all of which puts them at greater risk for trafficking.
It seems like people are managing to find plenty about our current national climate to disagree about. However, we are certain we can all agree that no child should be trafficked or exploited – and trafficking and exploitation affect children of color disproportionately, both in the US and globally. That data cannot be denied.
At Love146, we are confronting the ugly reality that a child’s race can make them more vulnerable. We believe every child, regardless of their race, is a human being, who deserves protection from trafficking.
If you’d like to go deeper in learning about the role of race in child trafficking, click here to listen to a longer conversation.
And if you’d like to share an educational piece about the issue with your network, click here to go to a great place to start.