Foster Care Abuse

Foster Care Abuse

U.S: high percentage of minor sex trafficking victims are foster children

Youngbee Kim
Human Rights Examiner
An FBI agent in Florida revealed this morning that 70% of the child prostitution or domestic minor trafficking victims that he encountered are children runaway from foster care. This is not a new information to many human trafficking advocates in the U.S. But, the problem seems to persist rather than rectified in our society. What went wrong with the foster care system in the U.S.? Is it only a matter of reformation, or, is this an inevitable consequence of running a foster care system in the U.S.?

AWOL; a chronic runaway youth from foster care

Experts call a youth who run from a foster care an AWOL. A research on these AWOLS in New York states many push and pulling factors causing these children to runaway from foster care. And, sexual activity is not absent from these factors. The research survey study by Vera Institute of Justice sites past documentations indicating a high risk of sexual exploitation of children placed in foster cares. Also, the research cites the study conducted in Baltimore finding that "the average age at which the foster youth in their sample first had sexual intercourse was 12.7, with 69 percent having been sexually active before the age of 15." The research further suggests that prostitution among female youth in foster care is not uncommon.

Other pulling factors

Some female youths responded to the research survey stated that they ran away from foster care to see their boyfriends. Whether they runaway from the group home to prostitute themselves or to see their pimp boyfriends, this is a win win situation for pimps and traffickers. Because these children are desperate for love and attention in one way or the other, pimps are ready to exploit these children's vulnerability. Yet, the facility workers are too busy to engage in the children's lives on a daily basis while tax payers' money is wasted on the system. And, these children are eligible for the special care and treatment only after they are already exploited by the pimps and discovered by the law enforcement individuals.



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