Purpose: To inform and educate about one of the most vulnerable populations at risk of being trafficked. We believe in freedom for all. This blog is not a reflection of our political and religious affiliations.
Stigmatized by most of society, bullied inside their schools and workplaces, and rejected by their families, members of the LGBTQI+ community often face these unimaginable situations on a daily basis. In addition to these challenges, the LGBTQI+ community is also at an increased risk for human trafficking and sexual violence.
Why is the LGBTQI+ community at higher risk of human trafficking and sexual violence?
Often, people who are categorized as “different” in society tend to runaway from their home or are no longer welcomed by their parents. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute reports 50 percent of LGBTQI+ youth receive a negative reaction from their parents when they come out and 26 percent are kicked out of their homes. If a person runs away or is forced out of his or her home, the individual may have nowhere to go but the streets. With little to no support system or means of survival, individuals quickly become prey for traffickers or sexual predators. This is a large reason why the National Coalition for the Homeless estimates that LGBTQI+ youth are 7.4 times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse than their non-LGBTQI+ peers.
Another reason the LGBTQI+ community is more prone to sexual violence because predators use their lack of acceptance from others as a power to control them. A common occurrence is traffickers forcing LGBTQI+ youth and individuals into prostitution with threats that the pimps will expose the victim’s identity or sexuality to the public if they don’t comply.
Finally, the LGBTQI+ community is also more at risk of sexual abuse is because they are more likely to participate in survival sex. According to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute, survival sex is having sex in exchange for shelter, food or a person’s specific need. Survival sex is essentially using sex as a form of payment when there are no other options available.
There aren’t enough resources for LGBTQI+ Community that create a safe place to feel accepted.
Making the circumstances worse for the LGBTQI+ community is the fact that many who are being trafficked, or at risk of being trafficked, feel they cannot receive any assistance from people or organizations for fear that their identity or sexuality will not be accepted. The problem arises when organizations helping survivors do not make accommodations or consider the needs of LGBTQI+ victims. This leaves the community further isolated, with many helpless on the street or unable to completely recover due to a lack of specific care.
Through a two-year project by Safe School Coalition, a LGBTQI+ homeless youth survivor once wrote, “I DREAM of opening a home for GLBT youth – youth who are open about who they are. I’ve been homeless and looked at transitional housing, I know that most shelters and housing have little or no understanding of what it means to be gay. I want to change that for other youth. I want to finish high school, go to college and become a psychiatric social worker.”
We stand with the LGBTQI+ community.
At Free for Life International, we stand up against human trafficking and sexual violence no matter the race, gender or sexuality of the individual. We fight for the freedom of ALL. In honor of the LGBTQI+ Pride Month, FFLI asks you join us in bringing awareness to the tragic experiences our LQBTQI+ peers face and to fight to put an end to sexual violence. The future that the youth survivor describes above is a future that we believe is possible! One easy way to join us is to share this article with your friends and family or post it on your social media. Don’t forget to tag us @FreeForLifeInt
National Coalition for the Homeless, and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Institute. “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness”, 1-199, PDF file.
Polaris, “The Typology of Modern Slavery”, 1-80, PDF file, https://polarisproject.org/typology
Safe Schools Coalition, “Out on the Streets”, 1, PDF file. http://www.safeschoolscoalition.org/outonthestreets/outonthestreets.pdf