Takeaways

    • Engaging in survival sex is frequently a response to a lack of basic material needs such as food, shelter, or clothing, in addition to aggravating factors such as employment discrimination and family rejection.

    • Staff secure facilities, like secure detention, are inappropriate placements for youth charged with a prostitution-related offense and should be prohibited.

    • Voluntary and low-threshold services should frame the response to these young people’s needs, including short-term shelter and long-term affordable housing, living wage employment, meals, clothing, sanitary products, transportation fare, and peer-to-peer mobile and street-based outreach.

Data:

Over 70 percent of the young people from one NYC study had been arrested at least once (n=278). [34]

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The vast majority of offenses for which the youth were arrested and charged include quality of life crimes (e.g., jumping the turnstile, carrying open containers, and trespassing) and other misdemeanors (e.g., marijuana possession, shoplifting, and violating a court order). More often than not, these crimes were associated with the young person being homeless or impoverished and not having the resources to, for example, pay for subway fare or access stable and safe housing.