Ark of Freedom Alliance's mission is to prevent the exploitation of the historically underserved. LGBTQ+ youth, youth of color, and males are both more likely to be exploitated and less likely to recieve services and resources. Many also experience homelessness, substance dependency, and mental health challenges.
Men & Boys
When most people are confronted with the idea of human trafficking they think of a young girl being traded for sex by men, while this does happen it is not the only way in which human trafficking occurs. Men and boys do experience both labor and sex trafficking. However, there is little reasearch that show the prevalance of males victimized through sex trafficking. Lack of data and research can be attributed to lack of identification of male victims. Although, there is data that challenges assumptions about males and sexual violence. On the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, released by the CDC, the same number of men and women reported being sexually assaulted. A 2015 study surveyed a sample of youth engaged in survival sex in New York City, from that sample 47% of the respondents were male compared to 36% female (Dank et al., 2015).
Stigma, gender roles, and stereotypes make it difficult for males to report vicitimization and seek services. This is especailly true for people of color. These preconcieved notions also make it difficult for people to see the vast prevalence of human trafficking for what it truly is. Though many men and boys experience human trafficking, they are underidentified and underserved.
Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming and Non-Binary
Homophobia and transphobia increase the vulnerability of the LGBTQ+ community. Predjudice make it difficult to gain and keep employment, this is especially true for the trans community. Family members may disown or turn their backs on them after coming out. LGBTQ+ youth may be kicked out of their homes by their parents or caregivers and bullied in school or foster care. LGBTQ+ youth only make up about 5-10% of the population yet 20-40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+. Homelessness is a leading risk for human traffickng. Having no other options they may turn to the commerical sex industry for survival. Traffickers may use force or coerce them into trafficking by providing for their basic needs or falsly promising a good job.
The stigma of commercial sex, homophobia, and transphobia make it difficult for LGBTQ+ persons being trafficked to report what has happened to them.
Black, M. C., Basile, K. C., Breiding, M. J., Smith, S. G., Walters, M. L., Merrick, M. T., . . . Stevens, M. R. (2011, November). National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010 Summary Report [PDF]. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dank, M., Yahner, J., Madden, K., Bañuelos, I., Yu, L., Ritchie, A., . . . Conner, B. (2015). Surviving the Streets of New York Experiences of LGBTQ Youth, YMSM, and YWSW Engaged in Survival Sex. Urban Institute.
Gay and Transgender Youth Homelessness by the Numbers. (2013, February 08). Retrieved July 23, 2020, from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbtqrights/news/2010/06/21/790/gay-and-transgender-youth-homelessness-by-the-numbers/