Decades of physical and emotional abuse, neglect, and chaotic home life create major vulnerabilities that can lead women down dangerous paths.  With few resources to overcoming their trauma, finding safe housing and making a suitable income, these women are perfect targets to get coerced into sex trafficking, prostitution and abuse, with no way out. Our community still has more work to do in bringing awareness to these issues and understanding that prostitutes are often victims of sex trafficking.

Photo Credit: Arleen Thaler
Rochester Photographer

The Facts


In 2017 nearly 300 youth were referred to the Center for Youth program as possible sexual exploitation victims. [Source: Democrat & Chronicle]

87% of commercial sex workers had unstable housing situations and 83% were affected by substance dependency. [Source: Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center 2003]

Rochester has scarce available housing for this population. Although there are places that distribute condoms and conduct HIV testing, there is no supportive housing outside detox or rehab. The only option for many of the women is a homeless shelter program, which is viewed by many as dangerous or undesirable.  There is a more urgent need for permanent housing combined with more intensive services. [Source: Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center 2003]

As many as 90% of teens who are sexually trafficked were already victims of sexual abuse, according to the National Institute of Justice.

There has been a 176% increase of prostitution arrests from 2016 to 2017 in Monroe County. [Source: DCJS, Computerized Criminal History system]

A 2016 study by the Center for Court Innovation found that between 8,900 and 10,500 children, ages 13 to 17, are commercially exploited each year in this country. [Source: Democrat & Chronicle

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