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LOYOLA UNIVERSITY — This study provides a detailed account of labor and sexual exploitation experienced by homeless youth in Covenant House’s care in ten cities

LOYOLA UNIVERSITY — This study provides a detailed account of labor and sexual exploitation experienced by homeless youth in Covenant House’s care in ten cities
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Though we can­not deter­mine the pre­cise num­ber of home­less youth liv­ing in the Unit­ed States and Cana­da, what we do know is that every sin­gle night of the year, no mat­ter how hot or cold it is, tens of thou­sands of home­less youth seek out shel­ter, safe­ty, food, and work.

Most often these vul­ner­a­ble youth find high-risk routes to secur­ing hous­ing, basic neces­si­ties, secu­ri­ty, and employ­ment. Unshel­tered home­less youth face a nar­row range of false choices—either starve or sell drugs, either sleep on the street or trade sex.

Covenant House International’s mis­sion is to defend the rights of home­less youth by pro­vid­ing them with the resources they need to be safe and free from exploita­tion. The agency’s pro­grams work to assist young peo­ple by pro­vid­ing no-bar­ri­er, safe, short-term hous­ing and longer-term tran­si­tion­al hous­ing. They also pro­vide edu­ca­tion­al sup­port, job train­ing and place­ment, med­ical ser­vices, men­tal health and sub­stance abuse coun­sel­ing, and legal aid.

The pri­ma­ry objec­tives of the study were to

- estab­lish the preva­lence of com­mer­cial sex­u­al exploita­tion, sex traf­fick­ing, and labor traf­fick­ing among youth served by Covenant House;

- assess some of the risk fac­tors, trends, and results of youth trad­ing sex;

- high­light the voic­es and expe­ri­ences of the home­less youth them­selves; and

- pro­vide evi­dence-based and youth-informed rec­om­men­da­tions for pol­i­cy and prac­tice that respond to the traf­fick­ing of home­less youth.

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