By Halle Coblentz, RAHAB Ministries
The Responding to Runaway Youth Subcommittee (RTRY) addresses the gaps in the community for runaway youth who are at a higher risk of sexual exploitation.
Youth who are living on the streets are extremely vulnerable and at risk. Traffickers know they are in a position where they need provided for, and see an opportunity when there is less adult supervision.
When traffickers are looking for someone to exploit, they seek vulnerabilities that they can target. AWOL youth are at a higher risk because a trafficker can fill basic needs to increase dependency such as food, clothing, and shelter. Youth will be promised that all their needs will be met, as long as they engage in sexual acts in exchange for their needs being met. Traffickers may even begin to have them recruit other runaway youth.
It is essential for schools, educators, and healthy adults to create environments to support youth before they engage in risky behaviors and direct them to appropriate community resources.
If you need resources for youth or families, please visit the “Resources” tab on our website or call the Summit Regional Human Trafficking Task Force hotline at 330-252-2614.