Sex trades mean any form of being sexual (or the idea of being sexual) in exchange for money, gifts, safety, drugs, hormones or survival needs like housing, food, clothes, transportation, healthcare, and documentation—whether we get to keep the money/resources or someone else takes some or all of the money/resources.
Youth involvement in the sex trades can be a result of coercion, lies, force or manipulation by others, limited options and basic survival, something that can best meet the needs of someone seeking a way to get money, a combination of these experiences or experienced differently at certain points in our lives.
Street economies means ways to make cash without paying taxes, having to show identification, prove citizenship, or get hired by an official business. It’s sometimes referred to as the underground or informal economy.
Street economies can include everything from explicitly illegal ways to make money like stealing items to sell, robbing or tricking people out of their money, parts of the sex trades and selling percs, zans or other drugs to more unlicensed, untaxed, illicit ways to make money like braiding hair, selling water or socks on the street, giving rides to people, babysitting to making plates of food to sell.
The streets means not only relying on the street economies to make money but can also mean staying at people’s houses, abandoned places, cars, motel rooms, random places and generally not being at your home or a placement like a group home, shelter or other official place for some, most or all of the time. It can also mean being connected to different crews or street organizations.