Brighter Futures

Runaway children and those being raised in foster care often find themselves lost in the social services system and victims of human trafficking. Voices For Children is on a mission to change that.
Text by Zak Mann | May 1, 2018 | Lifestyle

As a lifeline for the Guardian Ad Litem Program in Miami, Voices For Children helps minors navigate the social services system by recruiting, training and supporting adult volunteers to serve as a “voice” for the city’s abused, abandoned and neglected children during complex court proceedings. Concerned with another crippling problem in our community, the organization has also recently started focusing on human trafficking, another epidemic closely related to foster care and youth runaways. Private donors and marquee events such as the annual “Party For A Cause” helped the cause raise over $3.6 million last year…with this year’s Moments Of Brilliance: Be A Voice Gala alone raising more than $750,000. Although a big milestone, the fight continues, and every bit of support helps;

Big Problem: By The Numbers
Florida & Miami rank #3 among U.S. states and cities in reports of sex trafficking. According to Kristi House, there’s a strong link between child abuse and commercial sex exploitation: An estimated 80%-90% of prostituted youth have been sexually and/or physically abused in the home. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children found that in 2016, 1 in 6 of the 18,500 U.S. runaways that year were likely victims of child sex trafficking. Of those, 86% were in the care of social services or foster care when they went missing.