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Majority of U.S. sexual exploitation victims are runaway and throwaway youth

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, an estimated 293,000 American youth are currently at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Age 12 is the average age of entry into pornography and prostitution in the U.S. The majority of American victims of commercial sexual exploitation tend to be runaway or throwaway youth who live on the streets who become victims of prostitution. One out of three of children who run away from home each year in the U.S. will be lured into or forced into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. 90% of runaways and throwaways will eventually end up in commercial sex trade.

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Research indicates that traffickers have a preference for females age 12 and under because youth are more easily molded into the role assigned to them.

The average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12-14. However, it is not only the girls on the streets that are affected. On average, boys and transgender youth enter into prostitution is 11-13.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Children, Youth and Families reports that runaway, throwaway and homeless youth are especially high risk of sexual exploitation. Faced with the challenges of surviving on their own, both boys and girls living on the streets often find it necessary to exchange sex for basic needs, like food or shelter

In North Alabama, the Huntsville-Madison County Human Trafficking Task Force focuses on raising community awareness, educate the public, and lobby for positive change in local, regional and state anti-human trafficking policies.

Those interested in participating on the Task Force, send an inquiry to or 256-653-8527, The Human Trafficking Task Force meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 2:00 p.m. at the National Children’s Advocacy Center. The next scheduled meeting is September 2, 2014. Anyone may attend.

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