Some of the most vulnerable people in our society include members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially youth and BIPOC. Homelessness, poor mental health, discrimination, healthcare inaccessibility, trafficking – these are just a few of the many, many issues that affect the LGBTQ+ community every day.
Combat Human Trafficking reports that LBGTQ+ youth are “5 times more likely to experience human trafficking…and 7 times more likely to experience sexual violence” compared to heterosexual youth; and that’s just the reported cases. Because of stigma surrounding both homosexuality and the commercial sex industry, incidents of trafficking involving LGBTQ+ individuals often go unreported, and other major issues are typically overlooked, as well.
In response to the prevailing issue of LGBTQ+ trafficking, organizations such as 1DivineLine2Health and Covenant House have made it their mission to provide education, support, and safe spaces for survivors of this diverse community throughout the Americas.
Furthermore, the Office for Victims of Crime have stated their plans to “advance equity through important initiatives that protect the rights of victims who identify as LGBTQI+” via a FY 2022 Responding to Transgender Victims of Crime solicitation.
Human trafficking is a legal issue, a safety issue, a public health issue, and a societal issue – it is an issue that affects all of us, and as a result, it requires efforts of survivors, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and allies. It is vital we keep in mind that our LGBTQ+ family matters year-round, and not just during Pride Month. While we are in the midst of this month, let’s celebrate and uplift our LGBTQ+ friends.