Welcome to Supporting Youth   Click to listen highlighted text! Welcome to Supporting Youth

Exploitation

In the fourth stage, youth are fully exposed to sexual exploitation. The person seeking to exploit the youth may:

  • force or pressure youth to engage in sexual activities with themselves, their friends, or strangers
    • threats of violence and intimidation
    • threats to family
    • physical and sexual abuse
    • blackmail, and further manipulation
  • solicit clientele through various online forums, advertising the youth’s photos and services
  • keep most or all of youth’s earnings/profits, holding financial control over youth
  • threaten to expose youth’s engagement in the sex industry to family and friends
  • using debt bondage and/or collusion, youth can be made to believe:
    • they are guilty of wanting this lifestyle as their needs have been met continuously;
    • they are performing illegal activity and should be wary of law enforcement;
    • they must pay off a debt to the person seeking to exploit them for having their basic needs met.
  • maintaining aspects of Grooming and Connection phase to continue the cycle of abuse and make it difficult, and seemingly impossible, for youth to break the cycle
    • youth may still have basic needs met and may feel there are no alternatives

Despite the harm they experience, youth may feel like:

  • they are not experiencing exploitation
  • they must continue to engage in order to appease or support the person who is exploiting them, who they may still care about or feel loyalty to
  • they brought their difficult circumstances on themselves, or that they deserve the abuse they receive
  • they will not be believed or will get in trouble
  • they will not be able to return or readjust to their life prior to exploitation

As will be explored in depth in Modules 5 and 6, service providers must practice both holding youth’s feelings and ensuring to youth these feelings are valid, and while maintaining that no one deserves abuse or violence.

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