The commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth does not just happen in other countries: it is a significant issue, right here in the United States, with over 100,000 known youth exploited each year (the number is estimated to be much higher since identifying these youth can be very challenging). Most young people who fall victim to exploitation are vulnerable youth, with significant histories of trauma, child welfare involvement, runaway or homeless youth, and LGBTQ youth.
In recent years, the US has shown a shift in how we view and treat these young people once they are system-involved, recognizing that these youth are in fact victims, not criminals, and developing laws and services to help protect them and prosecute those who exploit them.
YAP is safely meeting the needs of commercially sexually exploited youth from within communities across the US, such as Las Vegas, Houston, Baltimore and DC. YAP’s CSEC model integrates a trauma informed, gender responsive approach in supporting youth aged 10-18 who have been sexually trafficked, with an emphasis on safety planning, housing stability, mental and physical health, and education/employment.
Accessibility and availability is critically important in working with these young survivors, so YAP’s services are available 24/7 and begin within 48 hours of referral. Staff are trained to understand the specific needs of youth who have been exploited, and staffing ratios are low due to the intensity of needs within these young people.
Further, YAP has adopted a number of nationally recognized curricula, including those that engage Survivor Advocates as co-facilitators, to help specifically address the needs of these young people in their journey toward healing and developing to their potential.
To learn more, please check out our resources to the left, or contact Gary Ivory at firstname.lastname@example.org.