The average entry age of individuals being recruited and trafficked into the sex industry is between 12 and 13. Factors as to why such young people are vulnerable can include poverty, mental health, addiction, and low self-esteem. Economic class, race, religion, and social class don’t discriminate either. Anyone can be lured into sexual exploitation.

In the same breath, many pimps have also been recruited and groomed from a young age. They have been trained by older pimps to recognize vulnerable factors and know how to prey on basic needs.

Service agencies across the country have seen a significant increase in cases referred every year. You might think that this increase is due to the rise of trafficking and exploitation in the country, and while that may be true, it’s also connected to an increase in education and awareness. A growing number of victims and pimps are accessing support because of a heightened education around sexual exploitation and the services available to them.

We firmly feel that educating everyone is a tool we can use to fight sexual exploitation. CHILL is actively bringing our message to schools to inform the most vulnerable—our youth. In 2016 we’ve shared our message with 650 young people. We’re also providing training for front line workers and those likely to come in contact with individuals who are being trafficked. We want to empower these people to step forward so that they can experience freedom and safety. We hope that as we educate, individuals won’t have to remain alone in the darkness of exploitation, but will find advocates of hope and healing.

As we continue to educate on the process of how individuals are lured into the sex industry, we believe that sexual exploitation will be prevented. We hope that any youth in the course of being groomed will recognize the red flags and reach out for help.

So why does education matter?

1. It prevents sexual exploitation from occurring in the first place.
2. It empowers frontline workers to intervene.
3. It increases the number of victims accessing support.

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Who is most vulnerable to sexual exploitation?

Sexual exploitation does not discriminate. Individuals have been trafficked and exploitated from every gender, race, religion, age, and socio-economic status.…

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