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Archive for February 8th, 2019

Last week, one of my Twitter readers mentioned that as foster parents, he and his wife were obliged to take a “sex trafficking” indoctrination intended to convince them that “pimps” were lying in wait for every foster kid, and the only solution was intense helicopter parenting.  Since he reads my writing, naturally he was skeptical and asked if I knew the truth about the prevalence of “sex trafficking” among foster kids; I explained that the problem is that under federal law, any sex work by a legal minor is considered “sex trafficking”, even when (as in 90% of the cases) there is no “trafficker”.  The great majority of underage sex workers do it as a survival tool to make it on the street, because the great majority are homeless runaways or throwaways.  Most of these kids would be happy to leave sex work if their needs were taken care of by supportive foster parents; unfortunately, the foster care system is by and large a shitshow, and foster parents who are both financially and emotionally supportive are a small minority.  The “authorities” know how bad the system is, but their jobs depend on hiding & denying it.  So when a foster kid who’s being maltreated, used as a servant, repressed by Christian “spare the rod” fetishists, or even sexually abused says, “fuck this, I know how to make it on the street” and runs back to that rather than endure the abuse, both the state and the abusive foster parents are highly motivated to blame imaginary “pimps” for abducting the kid again, when in reality she’s doing what she needs to survive in the way she learned after running away from her birth parents.  Lists of “signs of sex trafficking” are especially vile because they encourage foster parents to engage in exactly the kind of snooping, repression and social control that is most likely to drive an independent teenager back to the street.  My advice to foster parents who really, truly want to help is to ignore this BS.  Respect this young person you’ve volunteered to help; remember that they’re a young adult, not a “child”, and has probably lived on their own for at least some period of time.  You can’t put them back in the nursery, or monitor their every move, or “cure” their queerness (the majority of underage sex workers are LGBT), or spout this “tough love” BS, or they will bolt.  Support them, talk to them, trust them to the extent possible and practical, let them know they can be honest with you, and be there for them.  And then hope for the best.

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