top menu

Trafficking and Commercial Exploitation of Children and Youth

  Informational & Practice Publications, Resources, & Tools    
  • Child Welfare Response to Trafficking
    This free peer-to-peer webinar on child welfare system responses to the trafficking of children and youth was organized by the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections for the National Association of State Foster Care Managers. The webinar opened with an introduction to the topic by Taffy Compain, National Foster Care Specialist at the Capacity Building Division of the Children’s Bureau. Next, the webinar featured presentations from New York and Tennessee, which addressed child welfare system responses to trafficking in those States. New York’s presentation provided information regarding the State of New York’s definition of trafficking, relevant State law, and the intersection between child welfare and trafficking. Presenters from New York discussed child welfare system protocol for responding to trafficking, Office of Children and Family Services efforts to address trafficking, and the Safe Harbor Project. Tennessee’s presentation focused on the collaborative process employed to develop the Tennessee Department of Human Services Comprehensive Plan for the Delivery of Services to Human Sex Trafficking Victims. The presentation also shared the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) and Department of Human Services (DHS) approaches for ensuring comprehensive services are provided to children, youth, individuals and families. Presenters from each State discussed lessons learned, challenges, possible solutions, and recommendations. (September 9, 2013)

*Many of these resources were developed previously by the National Resource Center for
Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC).

  Informational & Practice Publications, Resources, & Tools    
  • Guidance to States and Services on Addressing Human Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States
    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) produced this document which contains guidance to States and service programs to build greater awareness and better response to the problem of child trafficking. It includes the following sections: Introduction; The Scope and Nature of Child Trafficking; Understanding the Needs of Victims; Coordination; Screening and Assessment; Intervening to Meet the Needs of Trafficking Victims; Emerging Shelter and Service Considerations; Child Welfare Responses; Additional Assistance Available to Child Victims of Human Trafficking; and, Resources. (2013)
  • Request for Assistance for Child Victims of Human Trafficking Form
    An individual may use this form to request eligibility for assistance for a non-U.S. Citizen, non-Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) child (under the age of 18) in the United States if the requestor believes the child may have been subjected to a severe form of trafficking in persons, as defined by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, as amended (TVPA). The TVPA directs the Secretary of HHS, upon receipt of credible information that a child who is seeking assistance may have been subjected to a severe form of trafficking in persons, to promptly determine if the child is eligible for interim assistance for a period of up to 90 days. (Expires 2014)
  • Children’s Bureau Express July/August 2013 Edition: Spotlight on Child Welfare and Human Trafficking
    In 2012, the U.S. Department of State estimated that 27 million men, women, and children around the world are victims of human trafficking. These victims are often from the most vulnerable populations, including children involved with child welfare. This issue of CBX looks at the intersection between child welfare and human trafficking, highlighting Federal Government efforts to combat the issue, a training and technical assistance center offering services to professionals who may encounter victims, and a handbook for enhancing the child welfare response to human trafficking. Children’s Bureau Express includes the following sections: News from the Children’s Bureau; Training and Technical Assistance Network Updates; Child Welfare News; Strategies and Tools for Practice; Resources; and, Trainings and Conferences. (2013)
  • Legal Services Assessment for Trafficked Children – Cook County, Illinois Case Study
    This publication from the Center for the Human Rights of Children at Loyola University Chicago discusses a year-long legal needs assessment project for child trafficking victims conducted by the Center for the Human Rights of Children (CHRC), in which Cook County Illinois was used as a case study. The project identified existing service providers working with both U.S. citizen and foreign national child trafficking survivors; the legal needs of trafficked children; current legal services available to this population; and gaps in those services in Cook County. This publication provides a background of the project, including the federal and state legislative landscape related to child trafficking, methods, and literature review results. It also shares the survey and focus group findings, and provides specific recommendations resulting from the project’s literature review, surveys, and focus group. (August 2013)
  • National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline for Victims of Trafficking
    The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a program of Polaris Project, a non-profit, non-governmental organization working exclusively on the issue of human trafficking. This national, toll-free hotline enables youth who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation to communicate with trained specialists via calls and text messages about their situation and learn about local services. Users may call 1-888-373-7888 or text BeFree (233733) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.
  • Directory of Training and Technical Assistance Resources for Anti-Human Trafficking Task Forces and Service Providers
    The Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC) has compiled this directory to assist Anti-Human Trafficking Task Forces and service providers in locating relevant training and technical assistance (TTA) resources. The directory focuses on TTA resources targeted for practitioners actively working in the anti-human trafficking field. The TTA providers included in the directory have the ability to assist practitioners across the nation; they have been vetted by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Planning Committee. The information comes directly from TTA providers in response to a widely distributed request for anti-human trafficking TTA resources. (2012)
  • Anti-Trafficking in Persons
    The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Program (ATIP) identifies and serves victims of human trafficking, assisting foreign trafficking victims in the United States to become eligible for public benefits and services to the same extent as refugees. The program also raises awareness of human trafficking through the HHS Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking campaign. (See next item.)
  • Rescue & Restore Campaign
    Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is designated as the agency responsible for helping victims of human trafficking become eligible to receive benefits and services so they may rebuild their lives safely in the U.S. As part of this effort, HHS has initiated the Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking campaign to help identify and assist victims of human trafficking in the United States. The intent of the Rescue & Restore campaign is to increase the number of identified trafficking victims and to help those victims receive the benefits and services needed to live safely in the U.S. The Rescue & Restore Campaign website was also launched to provide information about the issue of human trafficking, information about the campaign, information and resources for health care providers, social service providers, and law enforcement officers, as well as information about how to get involved in the campaign. The resources listed below can be accessed from the website. (2012)
  • Building Child Welfare Response to Child Trafficking
    Developed by a partnership with the International Organization for Adolescents and the Center for the Human Rights of Children (CHRC) at Loyola University, this handbook offers information to build the capacity of state and private child welfare agencies to respond to human trafficking cases involving children. The following components are designed to assist readers in understanding and using the information and tools provided: Glossary of Key Terms, Summary of Legislation Relevant to Child Trafficking, Chapter Introduction, Case Studies, Notes and (Best) Practice Pointers. In addition, as part of the handbook, a toolkit is provided with the following four topics: Identification & Investigation (including child trafficking screening tools), Case Management, Legal Protections & Advocacy, Referrals and Resources. (2011)
  • Fact Sheet: Child Victims of Human Trafficking
    This fact sheet answers the following six questions: What does the human trafficking of children look like in the United States?; What is the definition of human trafficking under U.S. federal law?; How do I report human trafficking?; What are my reporting responsibilities if I am a government official?; How do I obtain assistance for a foreign child victim of human trafficking?; and, What assistance is available to child victims of human trafficking?. (2009)
    • Human Trafficking Into and Within the United States: A Review of the Literature
      This comprehensive review of current literature on human trafficking into and within the United States focuses on surveying what the social science or other literature has found about the issues of identifying and effectively serving trafficking victims. A more specific focus concerns the phenomenon of “domestic trafficking” (trafficking involving U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, often within the U.S.), the impact on domestic youth, and the availability and/or effectiveness of services for these victims. (August 2009)
    • National Symposium on the Health Needs of Human Trafficking Victims, Post-Symposium Brief
      This Issue Brief presents an overview of the major topics discussed at the National Symposium on the Health Needs of Human Trafficking Victims sponsored by ASPE and held in Washington, DC, September 22-23, 2008. The brief focuses on the post-presentation discussions and suggestions of participants. The Brief contains links to the Symposium materials. (July 2009)
  • The ACF Response: Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery Initiative
    As public and government understanding of human trafficking has developed over the years, the Administration for Children & Families is committed to ensuring that victims of all forms of human trafficking – adults and children; foreign national, citizens, and legal residents; survivors of labor and commercial sexual exploitation – have access to the support they need to foster health and well-being. The ACF-wide Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery Initiative is a step towards implementing the federal government’s commitment to protecting victims by strengthening coordination across programs and Federal departments. Visit the ACF website to read about the programs and Federal departments involved in the Initiative, and access links to additional resources and information.

  Research & Reports    
  • National Survey of Residential Programs for Victims of Sex Trafficking
    This research report published by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) provides information on a survey conducted to learn about residential programs for trafficking victims in the U.S. with the goal of creating a national inventory of programs for this unique population. Through this national survey, it was found that a total of thirty-three residential programs currently operating in the United States offer services exclusive to trafficking victims, including two programs in Illinois. (October 2013)
  • Trafficking in Persons Report 2013
    This Department of State report provides definitions and focuses on victim identification as a top priority in the global movement to combat trafficking in persons. It details training and techniques that make identification efforts successful, as well as the pitfalls of inadequate identification. It also highlights new innovations and partnerships within and beyond government that will enhance identification efforts. (June 2013) See also the 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report.
  • Human Trafficking and Exploitation of Children and Youth in the United States: Outcomes document
    Information for this document was collected from the national conference, “Human Trafficking and Exploitation of Children and Youth in the United States,” held at Loyola University Chicago on September 22-23, 2010, sponsored by the Center for the Human Rights of Children. A brief questionnaire was provided to moderators, student volunteers, and participants. This document reflects the presentations, discussions, and reflections during the two-day September conference, and is designed to be a practical starting point for future dialogue and efforts to combat child trafficking in the United States. (Summer 2011)
  • Tennessee Human Sex Trafficking and Its Impact on Children and Youth 2011
    This report by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and Vanderbilt Center for Community Studies provides an analysis on the impact of human sex trafficking in Tennessee on children and youth. Human trafficking and sex slavery in Tennessee is more common than previously believed possible. Focused specifically on victims between the ages of nine and seventeen, the study pulled together details that found children are moved from city to city in the state and sold as prostitutes. With the assistance of Vanderbilt University and survey participation from more than 1,000 law enforcement officers and social service providers across the state who investigate sex trafficking cases or come in contact with victims, the TBI has produced the first-ever research publication on human sex trafficking focused just on Tennessee. (2011)
  • Human Trafficking in Puerto Rico: An Invisible Challenge
    Puerto Rico is a destination for sex tourism and a transit point for women and children from other Caribbean islands and from the interior of the Island for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Cases have also been reported of foreigners, both men and women, who are trafficked into Puerto Rico for labor exploitation. Besides transnational trafficking, domestic trafficking of Puerto Rican children seems to be a common occurrence in the country. Some of the activities for which minors are used include: the distribution and sale of drugs, work as drug runners, prostitution, pornography, and other illegal activities. Often the exploiter is a family member, a member of a foster family or someone in charge of the foster home. This report produced in partnership by César A. Rey Hernández, Luisa Hernández Angueira, the University of Puerto Rico, The Ricky Martin Foundation and The Protection Project, is the first comprehensive study and analysis of the various forms of human trafficking in Puerto Rico. This report explores the various methods of human trafficking in Puerto Rico. It has four main objectives: to understand the overall problem of human trafficking in this region of the Caribbean; to examine the problem in the context of Puerto Rico; to identify the agencies and organizations instrumental in the development of anti-trafficking measures and initiatives; and, to recommend public policies aimed at appropriate anti-trafficking interventions. (2010)
  • Study of HHS Programs Serving Human Trafficking Victims
    This project developed information on how HHS programs are currently addressing the needs of victims of human trafficking, including domestic victims (i.e., citizens and legal permanent residents), with a priority focus on domestic youth. The project provides in-depth and timely information to help HHS design and implement effective programs and services that help trafficking victims overcome the trauma and injuries they have suffered, to regain their dignity, and become self-sufficient. Components to the study include a comprehensive review of relevant literature, studies or data (published or unpublished) related to providing services to victims of human trafficking (including domestic victims); nine site visits to geographic areas (e.g., counties) containing at least one HHS- or federally-funded program currently assisting victims of human trafficking; at least three brief reports highlighting interesting, innovative, and/or effective experiences, knowledge, or information resulting from one or more of the site visits; and a final report providing a synthesis of all information obtained under the study. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which manages HHS programs serving trafficking victims, is partially funding this study with ASPE. Publications listed on the project webpage include:
  Training & Curricula    
  • Human Trafficking Awareness Training: “TIP 101”
    Human trafficking is a hidden crime, and the first step to combating it is to identify victims so they can be rescued and help bring their perpetrators to justice. The Department of State’s TIP Office, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has developed awareness and training materials to help increase awareness and educate on the indicators of human trafficking. By the end of this training, participants will be able to: define human trafficking; differentiate between human trafficking and human smuggling; recognize populations vulnerable to human trafficking; and, recognize indicators of human trafficking.
  State Examples    
  • Connecticut
    A Child Welfare Response to Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking
    The State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) acknowledges that Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking is an increasing issue in Connecticut afflicting children involved with the child welfare system. DCF Connecticut has been committed to addressing the issue of trafficking in their borders. Since the increase of collaborative efforts both internally at DCF and externally with the community, there have been eighty-eight children who have been identified and confirmed as victims of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking. Of the victims identified, eighty-six have been involved with child welfare services in some manner, many have been victimized while in foster care or residential placement. DCF Connecticut has put forth tremendous efforts to end the sale of children. These efforts are defined in this response from the state of Connecticut.
  • Illinois
    Rescue & Restore
    Illinois Rescue & Restore is a coalition between the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) and the federal government to combat labor and sex trafficking in Illinois. In partnership with law enforcement, social service organizations, healthcare, and advocacy groups across the state, DHS seeks to fight what has been dubbed a modern day form of slavery. With funds from a federal grant received in 2009, Illinois Rescue and Restore seeks to strengthen local anti-trafficking coalitions and grassroots organizations to raise community awareness about trafficking, identify victims, and rescue victims from enslavement. In addition to their website, this coalition offers the following youth related resource: Differences Between Child Abuse and Child Trafficking.
  • New York
    • Human Trafficking Webpage
      A teen in foster care runs away with her “boyfriend,” who asks her to sleep with a few of his friends, to pay rent. Two youth are made to work long hours on a farm when they should be in school. A mother “rents” her children to a pedophile, to support her drug addiction. Although all child welfare staff will recognize these scenarios as “child welfare issues,” fewer staff will identify them as cases of “Human Trafficking.” Human Trafficking is a serious crime that is punishable by both New York State and Federal Law. This webpage offers a number facts and resources on the following topics: What Child Welfare Staff Should Know, Types of Human Trafficking, Common Myths, Average Trafficking Victim, New York State Laws, Why do Child Welfare Staff Need to Know About Sex Trafficking?, and Resources.

    • Youth in Progress Need to Know Series Brochure: Human Trafficking
      This brochure is designed to help youth learn more about the topic of human trafficking and to protect them from this crime. It provides information about sex trafficking and labor trafficking, what to do if you think someone is a victim, how to avoid becoming a victim, and how to get help.

  • Tennessee
    The Tennessee Department of Human Services Comprehensive Plan for the Delivery of Services to Human Sex Trafficking Victims
    This plan was developed in accordance with Public Chapter 963, which tasked the Tennessee Department of Human Services with developing a comprehensive plan for the delivery of services to victims of human trafficking, in partnership with the Department of Children’s Services (DCS), Department of Health (DoH), Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD), Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (DMHSAS), and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). Appendices contain an array of resources that should be accessed for providing services to human sex trafficking victims and for increasing public awareness of this horrible crime. (2013)

< Back to Top >

Last updated 8/18/14