What is CSEC?

Also called Child Sex Trafficking, the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) is defined as any sexual activity involving a minor in exchange for something of value, or promise thereof, to the child or another person or persons. The FBI has identified the San Francisco Bay Area as one of 13 national high-intensity areas for this kind of exploitation.

While any person can experience commercial sexual exploitation, we see certain trends in the Bay Area and across the United States:

  • Youth of color and LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately impacted by commercial sexual exploitation.
  • The majority of youth in California experiencing commercial sexual exploitation have had experience with the foster care system.
  • Some other known vulnerabilities include homelessness, separation from family, living in a congregate care setting, having a history of sexual abuse, and being a member of a marginalized group.


Check out the video below to learn about one all-too-common pathway to exploitation. 

This video is part of the IAmJasmineStrong campaign by Freedom Forward, who designed and oversees FAM.  For more about Jasmine and other youth experiences, visit www.iamjasminestrong.com.

How is FAM helping?

Multiple studies have found that most Bay Area youth who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation have also been involved in the foster care system. Youth in foster care have, by definition, experienced abuse or neglect, and they often face ongoing challenges related to trauma, placement availability, and feelings of isolation - challenges exacerbated by unstable or institutional foster care settings and resulting in increased vulnerability to exploitation.

Rather than pathologize their experiences and move these youth into group homes or out of state, FAM recognizes that youth generally do best in committed and nurturing family homes. FAM provides high-quality training to better prepare resource families to support youth with these experiences.  Plus, our shared caregiving approach offers youth and families more flexibility and builds a community of authentic, lasting relationships.  Together, this offers FAM youth the best of both worlds: specialized trauma-informed support while being a part of a caring family.

Do I have to be an expert on this to join FAM?

Absolutely not!  FAM provides training and support to all FAM caregivers by a hand-picked selection of local organizations with deep expertise in working with this population.  We'll guide you through everything you need to know - from recognizing and preventing exploitation, to creating a trauma informed home.  In addition, FAM builds on successful models from around the country and has been informed by local youth, caregivers, providers, and policymakers, to ensure it meets San Francisco’s particular needs.

All you have to have is an open mind, an open heart, and an open room in your home.

Every day, young people experience sexual exploitation right here in San Francisco.