As an Abolitionist Partner, you’ll give $18 a month for all the 18th birthdays. #18fortheir18th

As a Florida based non-profit, we fight human trafficking across the entire United States.

Teenagers are targeted in the most “innocent” ways. This isn’t a life that discriminates.

Imagine you have a 17-year-old niece named Stephanie. She loves dancing, movies, and spending time with her friends. One day a man starts talking to her online and promises her the world.

Stephanie falls for his trap, hook, line, and sinker. She believes him when he tells her he loves her and will take care of her. But then he gets her addicted to drugs, has her raped, and begins selling her for sex.

Your niece. Sold. Repeatedly.

Every 2 min. a child is trafficked for commercial exploitation. At least 100,000 minors in this country are exposed to the trafficking industry every year. (NCMEC)*
Now imagine that she has her 18th birthday while being trafficked. A day you would have celebrated now becomes a reason for concern because that birthday changes things for how the state views Stephanie.

What happens now that she is an adult?

The Safe Harbor Act was passed in the state of Florida in 2013. It explicitly states that a minor cannot be arrested for commercial sexual exploitation. In other words, before their 18th birthday, children engaging in paid sexual acts are treated as victims of human trafficking, they are not arrested for prostitution. In addition, buyers can even be charged with human trafficking which is a more severe crime than sexual solicitation of a sex worker.

What a Difference a Day Makes

What about Stephanie who was trafficked for months as a minor but “celebrated” her 18th birthday? Does a child really become an adult in one day?

Legally, as soon as a minor turns 18, he or she can now be arrested for prostitution. Very few victims have the courage to expose their traffickers, even though that is the one thing that will keep them out of jail. As a result, innocent victims who have been manipulated, drugged, and coerced go to jail while their traffickers remain free.

The Age Gap

When Florida Abolitionist first began providing assistance to victims of human trafficking, our Founder, Tomas Lares recognized a huge gap in services for adult victims. While many resources and services exist for minors who are identified as victims, very few are available for adults.

For example, let’s imagine that your niece, Stephanie, is recovered by law enforcement in California and she cooperates with the authorities, telling them how she had been forced and trafficked. Now, what happens? Where does she turn? If she has turned 18 there are not a lot of resources made available to her. Police cannot keep her. If she is like most trafficking survivors, she has no money, no home, no friends, is addicted to drugs, and her only possessions are the clothes on her back. Her closest relatives could be across the country.

Who will be there for her?

Far too many survivors return to the streets, running back into the arms of a trafficker because they have no other options.

You can change that. You can be there for her because United Abolitionists WANTS to be there for her and we need the support of others who care.

You can be there for every Stephanie who is left with nowhere to go. By becoming an Abolitionist Partner and giving $18 per month in honor of her 18th birthday, you can ensure that every survivor who is recovered and has nowhere to go receives critical support through our advocacy and comprehensive case management program.

Give the Stephanies of our community hope for tomorrow. Become an Abolitionist Partner today!