UPENN and Covenant House Research Concludes (Something We Who Have Lived It Have Known): For decades, one set of activists and legislators have fought to end human trafficking, while a different set have worked tirelessly to try to end homelessness. Activists and legislators have rarely teamed up to fight the two issues simultaneously. Now a new study suggests that the key to ending trafficking of young people is to eradicate youth homelessness first.  Re/Post of a New York Times Article By TARIRO MZEZEWA APRIL 17, 2017 “The vulnerability children experience when they are alone, hungry and without shelter on the streets makes them particularly susceptible to trafficking,” said Kevin Ryan, president and chief executive of Covenant House, a shelter for homeless teenagers and young adults across the country. The study was released on Monday by Covenant House, as well as the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research at the University of Pennsylvania and Loyola University Modern Slavery Research Project in New Orleans. After interviewing 911 homeless young people across 13 cities in the United States and Canada, researchers concluded that 56 percent of homeless transgender youth had been involved in the sex trade in some way, while 40 percent of homeless young women and 25 percent of young men were. About 27 percent of L.G.B.T youth reported experiences consistent with the U.S. federal definition of sex trafficking. Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act is a minor. “The vulnerability children experience when they are alone, hungry and without shelter on the streets makes them particularly susceptible to trafficking,” said Ryan. The researchers found that of those interviewed, nearly one-fifth of homeless youth in the United States and Canada are victims of human trafficking, including those trafficked for sex, labor, or both. Some 20 percent were victims of human trafficking. For Naomi, who was trafficked as a teenager, learning that so many young homeless people are often exploited is no surprise. In 2008, at the age of 16, Naomi, whose real name has been changed, left Haverford, Pa., to spend a week with a friend in New York City. Upon arriving in the city, she was trafficked. Over the next four years, she was bought by one pimp from another, sold for sex in New York and New Jersey, forced to have sex with strangers several times a week and eventually arrested for prostitution. While trapped in a Brooklyn apartment, owned by a pimp who locked her in a closet when he left the house, Naomi tried to plan several escapes, but always ended up choosing to stay with the man who abused her because she was scared of ending up homeless and alone. “The fear of having nowhere to go, of being homeless was very real,” she said. “He would say my family wasn’t looking for me, that they didn’t care where I was and no one would help me if I left.” Naomi was mandated by the court to attend therapy sessions at Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, an organization that helps girls and young women who have been involved in prostitution. The organization connected her with Covenant House. In March, a month after vowing to end human trafficking, President Donald Trump proposed, through his budget, eliminating the Interagency Council on Homelessness. His move was widely criticized by anti-poverty advocates, who believe that ending poverty is central to fighting trafficking. “One of the ways we will end criminal exploitation of children and youth is to make sure there is a robust safety net for homeless issues,” said Ryan. “To end human trafficking, we must end youth homelessness.”