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Summary: Already in vulnerable positions, COVID-19 and the subsequent economic upheaval have made runaway and homeless youth more vulnerable than ever to human traffickers. Their options are fewer than ever and their needs likely greater. But so far, the COVID-19 relief legislation has left them behind. It’s time to pass legislation that will keep these vulnerable young people safe and prevent longer-term homelessness. Data from the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline shows that being homeless or having unstable housing as a young person is a key risk factor for falling prey to traffickers. Some young people are forced to trade sex for shelter or other necessities, or to sell sex in order to pay for a place to stay. Others are forced or duped into working in exploitative situations. Tell your U.S. senators to support the Emergency Family Stabilization Act (S.220). It’s time to join the effort to protect homeless and runaway youth from human trafficking.
Outcome: Congress is no longer actively debating this bill. We are focusing our efforts to prevent and reduce trafficking of youth to the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act, which will update and strengthen critical programs to address the needs of youth experiencing homelessness and youth survivors of human trafficking. Take action to support this bill now.