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Understanding Who We Are:
Freedom Youth Project is a community based organization whose work on Human Trafficking centers on Public Awareness, Prevention and Restoration. Freedom Youth Project is made up primarily of volunteers who care about children and join our efforts. Volunteers play a significant role within Freedom Youth Project. Thanks to generous donations of time, talent and treasure, we are able to reach out to continue our mission.

Mission Statement

Freedom Youth Project Foundation was founded in 2010 as a human rights organization, dedicated to fighting and preventing human trafficking of youth in America primarily through Public Awareness, Prevention and Restoration.  Everything we do is based on our core belief that childhood should be a wonderful and magical time in life that is filled with learning, exploring and discovering one's gifts in life."

Why Freedom Youth Project was Organized

During our initial exploration of Human Trafficking, there were six key factors which led to the formation of Freedom Youth Project Foundation. These factors were so compelling in the decision to create a foundation dedicated to serving victims of Domestic Minor Sex-Trafficking.

Six Key Factors
  • In the U.S., American victims of Human Trafficking outnumber foreign national victims 20-to-1.
  • The single largest demographic of targeted victims in the U.S. is American girls ages 12-to-14.
  • In the U.S. the average lifespan of victims is 7 years.
  • Less than 4/10th of 1 % of victims are rescued.
  • Due to lack of available services, when rescued, victims most likely go to jail or lock-down facilities.
  • All of funding, initiatives and energy to combat Human Trafficking in the US were at the time directed to International victims, leaving a huge gap in services for domestic victims.
Truth About Trafficking in America
It is truly unfortunate the media narrative concerning story angles on Human Trafficking tend to highlight the global or international perspective. Furthermore, stories about trafficking in the U.S. are often about international victims brought here either against their will, or with deceptive purposes.  When we discuss information about human trafficking with people, so many have a picture of people brought here against their will from far away places like Mexico, South America, The Philippines, India and others.  Often, Americans hear the term and think of people caught up in domestic servitude.   As America learns more about this issue, there is still a false sense that here that human trafficking is primarily a global or international issue.

"While trafficking of foreign nationals does happen here, most people have no idea the primary target for human traffickers in the U.S. is our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.  

In the U.S. American victims out-number foreign nationals 20-to-1."

There are, after all, so many global causes that we as Americans can literally choose to ignore, seemingly without consequence.  However, with respect to human trafficking, we could not be more wrong.  Human trafficking is right here in the United States, and it is here in a big way in places you would never suspect, likesmall-town-America as well as major cities.

Most people consider Human Trafficking to be  global issue that exists primarily outside the U.S. While it is true that human trafficking is a global issue, it is also a serious issue within the United States. When people hear the term human trafficking, they often believe that human trafficking is happening to children who are not from the U.S. but in actuality the issue of human trafficking in the United States happens more often to our own children than we think. Globally, the issue of human trafficking is mostly due to extreme poverty, while the reasons for human trafficking within the United States are far more numerous. In the U.S. the primary targets of traffickers are American girls ages 12 to 14 and when compared to victims in other nations, American victims far outnumber foreign national victims 20-1.   

While we care deeply about Human Trafficking as a global issue, our scope at Freedom Youth Project Foundation is focused on sex-trafficking of America's youth which has many unique characteristics that are not shared with other kinds of trafficking here or around the world.

Urgent Need to Take Immediate Action
 American children are having their lives stolen and being forced into the sex-trade right here in the U.S. at an alarming rate. Minors are coerced, mostly through violence, to work in child pornography, strip clubs and brothels by human traffickers. This is known as Domestic Minor Sex-Trafficking or DMST.  Currently, the U.S. Department of Justice figures range between 150,000 to 300,000  American victims, depending on whether  both adults and children are included.  While this issue affects both boys and girls, the single largest demographic is American girls aged 12 to 14.

"Traffickers recruit and find children with great ease, because they rely on the naivete of children,  parents, even police officers and the general public."

It used to be that most of the risk for abduction into trafficking was for children who were truants or run-aways. Today, traffickers have found ways to easily manipulate children from just about all facets of society using social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook, among others.  Victims come from households from all levels of income and education.

There isn't a nice way to explain the harsh reality of human trafficking in the U.S.   When a child goes missing here in the U.S., and is not found or returned within a reasonable amount of time, there is a strong possibility that the child is being trafficked.   As we learn more about Human Trafficking in America, we can see many reasons to re-frame much of we thought about what happens to many of our children who go missing.  More and more evidence indicates that children who are thought to be missing or runaways have actually been caught up in this seedy world of domestic minor sex-trafficking.  

Trafficked Youth Become Hidden and Moving Targets
Traffickers Are Nomadic

Because traffickers are nomadic, it is not possible to solve this issue by thinking on a local level. Freedom Youth Project was founded specifically to think “big-picture” on this complex issue of human trafficking.  Our current scope of work centers around planning a treatment facility for under-age American victims of Sex-Trafficking that is based on a national / macro strategy to address Human Trafficking in the United States.  We encourage every reader to go to our website and read about the issue and our vision.  

A missing child disappears a mile-per-minute.  In two hours they are 120 miles away.  Within 2 days, they could be anywhere possible on a U.S. map.  A local police department can only do so much once a victim is taken elsewhere.  Sadly, missing case files become what is known as  “cold cases.”  Ironically, almost all children in the sex-trade have been arrested in multiple cities for doing what they are being forced to do.  Traffickers are nomadic and move around often to avoid prosecution.  

While much progress has been made in law enforcement, still today there are many instances where law enforcement view trafficking victims as criminals instead of victims. While it is true victims are arrested while engaging in criminal activity, it is also true that it is under duress, and at great risk of violence from their traffickers if they refuse to do as told. Traffickers often threaten violence if one of their victims attempt to runaway or seek help from law enforcement. Often, when arrested by police for engaging in sex-crimes, instead of it becoming a rescue opportunity, it is simply an arrest. Sadly, this confirms what traffickers tell their victims, that the police will not help you and cannot be trusted.   Much work is still needed to train all police officers to recognize signs when they have a suspect in custody is actually a victim of traffickers.  In the series of images below, you can see in the first photo a teen who has gone missing followed by multiple photos taken around the country as she is arrested. These photos not only depict missed rescue opportunities, but the kind of devastation inflicted on someone who is enslaved in human trafficking. No one connects the dots--that this 14 year old sex-worker is actually someone’s missing little girl they haven't seen for 2 years.

Time lapse from missing teen to being trafficked across USA

The photo series above are of the of the same girl showing the effects as she is trafficked across the U.S.  
It is easy to see the devastation that is inflicted on a missing teen when pulled into "the life" known as Human Trafficking.

Thankfully, we are seeing changes take place.  While great strides have been made to update and improve legislation, provide tools for prosecutors, train law enforcement and even rescue victims, it is clear that the effort to provide treatment for these young victims is lagging far behind other initiatives to deal with the aftermath of this crime.

Understanding Sex-Trafficking:
Sex-Trafficking involves persons who are recruited, coerced, transferred, harbored, or received for the use of prostitution, pornography, or any other type of sexual exploitation. Sex-trafficking occurs when a sex-trafficker lures, coerces, or forces a person to be used in a form of sexual exploitation. The most common way a sex-trafficker will lure a victim is by means of deception.

Understanding Domestic Minor Sex-Trafficking (DMST):
Domestic Minor Sex-Trafficking is a form of human sex-trafficking that involves domestic minors who are coerced into prostitution or pornography. Domestic Minor Sex-Trafficking is a serious issue within the United States. Americans who are under the age of 18 are the single largest demographic for those of whom become victims of sex-trafficking. The primary target of sex-traffickers are girls between the ages of 12 and 14. In Texas alone, there has been a 20 percent increase in the number of cases involving minor sex-trafficking. The estimation of how many girls are trafficked is said to be approximately 150,000 a year with an estimated amount of only about 200 treatment beds for those who are suffering from sex-trafficking.

A Note to Volunteers

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our work at Freedom Youth Project Foundation. We cannot exist without your valuable contribution. As you get involved in this issue, you will learn about many things that the majority of people have not yet been exposed to. Please do NOT confuse that extra knowledge as some kind of hightened ability to intervene if you were to notice public activity that appears to be some form of human trafficking. This can be very dangerous. Please read the following link:CLICK HERE

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