youthSpark is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization committed to advocate for youth in need of adult and legal protection. We know that exploitation is driven by entrenched inequality, the absence of community support systems, and a lack of meaningful economic opportunities. If we fail to address these problems, abuse and trauma will persist. We work one-on-one with vulnerable girls, boys, and youth who are gender and sexual minorities, to create a safety net of long-lasting support.

We have learned a lot through this work–especially in how people in positions of power take advantage of and abuse vulnerable young people. We believe perpetrators of abuse must be held accountable in ways that restore the people and communities that have been harmed. We know talking about abuse can be tough. We (1) provide community education on sexual exploitation and violence, (2) use research bring progressive thought leadership to the complexities of exploitation and commercial sex work, and (3) draw attention to the need for and effectiveness of community-based and nonpunitive forms of accountability.

This initiative is intended to generate thoughtful and respectful community dialogue. We do not believe that shaming is effective and we do not believe trafficking victims and sex workers should be criminalized. You can support this project by making a tax-deductible donation.