If someone is forcing you, coercing you, or manipulating you to perform sex acts in exchange for money, food, a place to stay, or because you “owe them,” please know this is illegal and is a crime! It could be a pimp/madam (trafficker) or anyone. If you have run away or are homeless, please know you do not have to do engage in prostitution. You CAN get help!
Your safety is important. You can text 233733 (BeFree) from 3 to 11 p.m. EST, and someone will direct you to help in your area. You can also call the National Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 to get resources and help, and report what is happening. These are initial first steps you can take to get in touch with people who understand what you are going though and who know how to help.
Anyone can call the National Trafficking Hotline, especially if you see something suspicious going on or you know of someone that you think is being forced to prostitute. The hotline staff can help you determine what next steps to take.
If you are underage/a minor, law enforcement can charge anyone who has had sex with you for statutory rape.
If You Become Pregnant
If you become pregnant, know that no one can force you into any decision. Even if you do not know who the father of the child is, you can still consider all options, including single parenthood, kinship care, or adoption.
If a pimp/trafficker is the father, there may be some more factors involved. It is against the law in most states for him to coerce or force you into an abortion, but conversely, in many states, he may have some rights to the child, should you choose parenting or adoption.
First and foremost is getting safely out of the situation by starting with the text or phone hotline. Once safe, a victim’s advocate will typically go over your legal options and can then refer or advise you on the legal specifics of the pregnancy and your, as well as your child’s, rights. Pregnancy resource centers can also connect you to a number of services.
By Joyce McCauley-Benner, Editor