Running Away

The Reality of Running Away
Child sexual exploitation
Crisis hotlines for runaways

If you are in a physically abusive household, call a crisis hotline before you run away. Running away will not improve your life. Finding help will. Please see our Abuse section.

The Reality of Running Away

When you run away, where will you live. What will you eat. What clothes will you wear. How will you make money to survive when no business will hire a minor during school hours. It's incredibly difficult to make enough money to live in today's world as an independent minor, unless you resort to illegal activities. If a person convinces you to run away, how will you survive once they abandon you. What guarantee do you have that they won't abandon you or take advantage of you.

Most runaways survive by selling their bodies for money in return for a horrible life enslaved by a physically abusive, violently oppressive pimp. Another alternative is to work for a drug dealer. Drugs are a very dangerous business. It's very likely you will become addicted to the drugs you are dealing. Your life will likely be in danger due to violent competition between dealers or an inability to pay for your addiction. Many addicts are forced to have sex in exchange for more drugs. This lifestyle could send you to jail or to an early grave. These are scary things to think about. When your home life seems unbearable or the outside world seems adventurous, remember, there are people waiting to take advantage of someone like you, when you runaway. If you are being abused at home, remember there are places full of people waiting to help you. If you are abused at home, talk with an adult or call a crisis hotline. They are waiting for your call right now.

Crisis hotlines for runaways

Teen Sexual Exploitation

It is without a doubt as ugly as it sounds. It means the illegal use of minors for sexual purposes, including the following:

Sexual abuse: making sexual contact with a victim or exposing the victim to inappropriate sexual activities or material.

Pornography: Coercing a victim into sexual activity to be recorded or photographed and distributed on video, print, or digital media.

Prostitution: exchanging sexual activities for money. The person who coerces the victim into this activity is known as a "pimp" or "madam." The word "pimp" is used loosely in music and the media. In lyrics it is associated with being cool

49% of juvenile prostitutes on the street are female and 51% are male, both of which serve male clients.

UNICEF, the United Nations Childrens Fund estimates that at least 1 million children are sexually exploited each year.

There are certain situations that predators look for. To avoid sexual exploitation:

Do not run away.

Running away will not solve your problems. It can only make you more vulnerable to predators. Talk to an adult, a teacher, your guidance counselor, a coach, a minister, a school psychologist, or a crisis center before you run. Runaways are at high risk for sexual exploitation because they need money, food and shelter, and quickly use up funds to pay for it. Pimps recognize runaways as easy prey. They are very skilled at luring youth and coercing them into terrible dangerous situations. If you have already runaway read the help section.

Do not take gifts, money, or rides from a stranger.

Even if they are dressed as a police officer, priest, or soldier, and even if they are well dressed and look friendly. People can act.

Don't allow yourself to be taken to unfamiliar, dark or isolated places with people you don't know well.

Don't let strangers take your picture.

If they do tell your parents or the police.

When you are not at home or school make sure your parents know where you are

no matter how much of a pain it is.

Don't enter a home you're not familiar with, even to baby-sit or use the washroom.

Don't frequent an establishment that is unsupervised. If you isolate yourself on a regular basis, a predator can recognize the pattern and take advantage of it.

Never accept a drink, cigarette or drugs from a stranger.

If you have already run away

Seriously consider returning home. Many parents seem like a major pain in the butt. They may seem like they don't care all that much about you. But underneath, the overwhelming majority of parents do care about their children. If your home is safe, we encourage you to go there. If you experienced child abuse and you feel your home is not safe, then please call one of the following crisis centers:

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Related Info

Childhelp USA and National Child Abuse Hotline

Crisis & Grief Counseling
Boys Town National Hotline
Crisis counseling for girls and boys and referral to local help

National Urban league
Organization that "helps youth fight the temptations of the street"

National Runaway Switchboard

The National "YOUTH" Crisis Help line

Kristin Brooks Hope Center
A national organization that links callers to local crisis centers

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
Great info on suicide and suicide prevention with useful links

the Covenant House
1-800-999-9999 crisis hotline
Although written for young kids, this site can provide useful information for adolescence on how to cope with thoughts of

Running away



Grief Recovery Institute

Domestic Violence

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Drug Abuse

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and National Hotline
Treatment & referrals

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information

Narcotics Anonymous
World Service Office in Los Angeles
An international, community-based association, holding weekly meetings for recovering drug addicts.
(818)773-9999 To locate your local chapter

Alcoholics Anonymous
Group support for your addiction to alcohol


Anonymous Family Group Headquarters
Group support for those with family members who suffer from alcoholism

American Cancer
Society Information on quitting smoking

Smoking, Tobacco and Health Information Line

Tips 4 Teens - Stop Smoking Help

Gay & Lesbian Adolescents

National Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Youth Hotline

National Coalition for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Youth

Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays

Homosexual Adolescents

National Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Youth Hotline

National Coalition for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Youth

Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays


Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network Hotline