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The LGBTQ community faces high rates of discrimination, violence, and economic instability. LGBTQ youth who are forced to leave home must find ways to meet their basic needs. The commercial sex trade is waiting with open arms. Traffickers and sex buyers prey on the vulnerabilities of those who lack choices.

This is further complicated by the fact that, in the words of activist and survivor leader Esperanza Fonseca, “In the transgender community, prostitution is glamorized. In a world where trans women of color are murdered by men of our own race and class with impunity… where we are rejected from jobs, housing, and cut-off from our families and communities, I understand why prostitution has made us feel powerful.” The transgender community also often speaks of prostitution as the only economic opportunity for a discriminated against community.

In their presentation, “The LGBTQ Community and Commercial Sexual Exploitation” Esperanza Fonesca, member of AF3IRM, activist and Survivor Leader, along with Cristian Eduardo, Survivor Leader with Sanctuary for Families and ECPAT-USA, will discuss the widespread exploitation of the LGBTQ community in the sex trade, the harms of full decriminalization and the need for the Equality Model.