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Know the signs: Sexual Exploitation

Alaska Homeless Youth

Based on studies conducted in Alaska, within 48 hours of becoming homeless, one in three children will be approached by a trafficker.

In Alaska, the common age of recruitment is 14-16 years and the average lifespan once recruited is seven years. 

Covenant House Alaska reports:

  • 1 out 5 individuals experiencing homelessness in Alaska is under 18 years old
  • 1 in 7 children will be a runaway before the age of 18
  • Sixty-eight percent (68%) of the youth who had either been trafficked or engaged in survival sex had done so while homeless.

A study conducted by Loyola University in cooperation with Covenant House Alaska in 2016 reports:

  • 65 youth were surveyed locally, and 641 youth were surveyed nationally
  • 1 in 5 identified as trafficking victims nationally
  • 1 in 4 identified as trafficking (labor/sex) victims locally
  • 1 in 4 females identified as sex trafficking locally
  • Twenty-eight percent (28%) of respondents locally say they had experienced any form or trafficking, 2nd only to Oakland.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) is real and is happening in Alaska.  200 victims of trafficking were served in the last two years between five Anchorage providers.  Law enforcement reports an increase of online recruitment of victims.  There are also more cases of traffickers creating explicit images and videos of minors. 

Alaska Risk Factors

  • Populations with high amounts of historical trauma and trauma exposure
  • Transient male-dominated industries such as mining, fishing, and oil industries.

Studies have shown that the co-location of industries such as mining, oil, or fishing operations, which hire primarily male workers and require them to live temporarily away from their homes, in or near communities with high levels of historical trauma can lead to exploitive dynamics that increases the occurrence of transactional sex (Bradshaw, Linneker, & Overton, 2017).  These conditions contribute to the commercial sexual and labor exploitation of youth and women in Alaska.
Covenant House Alaska reports that their staff members at the Anchorage youth homeless shelter are informed by their residents of minimally two cases of trafficking and or survival sex from their service population per month.

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