Whenever I hear in the media about a child, a teenager, who has run away from home or is missing, I can’t help but fear for their lives. Did you know that within 48 hours of a child who has run away from home, a trafficker will seek out this child and try to get them into the human trafficking system? That is not a lot of time. Children, particularly teenagers, run away from home for various reasons. Many deal with abuse and neglect at home. Many are turned away or kicked out. 40% of the youth who are homeless identify as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/ Questioning). Most are homeless after coming out to their families, because they are abused or simply kicked out. Today we are focusing on these youth, because their voices are not heard.
There is a lot of information about bullying and suicide in the LGBTQ community. The issues of gay rights and marriage is a huge hot topic today. But when it comes to homelessness, this issue is usually swept under the rug. I am here to bring this difficult subject to light and to do something about it. The LGBTQ youth have a hard time here in America. They are the group that will face the most discrimination, first in conservative homes, usually being abused by their families and/or church, and discrimination at school. Many of these youth turn to suicide, which is the highest rate among LGBTQ than any other group of young people. Others try to find hope by leaving their situation, which is not much better for them. There is a lot of discrimination in the service agencies that help homeless youth, sometimes through the government and others by policies adopted by these service agencies. LGBTQ youth are turned away at alarming rates. It is also true in the foster care system, as many youth are turned away, and the need is growing for foster parents of children who identify as LGBTQ. So when a child who is gay or transgender is kicked out of their home, leave because of abusive situations at home, or the legal and governmental systems turn away, it leaves little hope. Plus, traffickers prey on youth, who are particularly vulnerable and desperate. They prey on their hopes and dreams of a better future. So of these 40% of LGBTQ homeless children, many will end up in the human trafficking system- sometimes simply because they have no other choice. This is heartbreaking!
We must do something to help these kids. No matter what you feel on the issue, we need to help. No one should go through life feeling this rejected. LGBTQ children are not garbage to just throw away. If you care about helping out in the fight against human trafficking, we need to also give these kids a chance. Today, you can.
The Polaris Project, a leading agency against human trafficking, recognizes this as a problem within the human trafficking ring and youth homelessness. They are helping to raise funds to create shelters for homeless LGBTQ. This is the step in the right direction to give LGBTQ youth a place to get off the streets. Through private funding, this can be possible. Please join me, either in fundraising, or in donating to this worthy cause. For more information, visit my fundraising page below, or at http://www.polarisproject.org/take-action/fundraise/peer-to-peer-campaigns