When ex-NFL great Lawrence Taylor was arrested for allegedly raping a minor, youth sex trafficking hit the national spotlight. In a trend that spans across America, young women, most of whom seem to be lured in to the sex trade with promises of money, shelter and sometimes love, are finding themselves as prostitutes in a ring organized by their “protectors.”

Haley Volpintesta, a Chicago-based human rights advocate with 10 years of experience working with youth impacted by the sex trade, nationally and internationally, and the juvenile and criminal justice systems says that while many young women are coerced into prostitution, many others engage in survival sex, trading sex for for basic needs like food and shelter, even in the Unites States of America. “They may see their involvement in the sex trade as temporary, until they can figure out how to get their needs met in other ways,” she says.

So basic tools of survival lead some girls to trade sex for money?

Some young people find themselves in situations where they are relying on very limited choices because their very basic needs aren’t met. Coming from an abusive home, not having a safe place to live, not having food or even feeling pressured to meet a certain standard with clothes may lead them to the sex trade. This industry is motivated by poverty and capitalism. Around the country and internationally, not having what one needs to live often make this, for some people, a realistic thing to do.

How are girls recruited into the sex trade? CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

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