The percentage of homeless teenage girls in Israel jumped from 15 to 25 percent last year, driven by the social stresses of immigration and family discord, the Jerusalem Post reports.
The problem includes not just homeless youth, but also teens who “loiter” on the streets, many of whom are from immigrant families whose parents work multiple jobs and are rarely home.
Left in charge of their younger siblings by absent parents, the teens take their brothers and sisters with them onto the streets in search of food and other necessities.
Some girls, in need of shelter, may opt to go home with an adult male, trading sex for a roof over their heads.
One critic said that 99 percent of young homeless females in Israel eventually find their way into the sex industry.
“Number of homeless female teenagers soar”
Jerusalem Post, April 15, 2008