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A Research-Based Question and Answer Resource on Sex Trafficking for Youth-Supporting Professionals

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Sex trafficking is of growing concern to professionals who support young people who experience the child welfare and/or justice systems, homelessness, and/or disconnection from school and work. Sex trafficking survivors (i.e., those who are currently being trafficked or who were trafficked in the past) may suffer a variety of short- and long-term physical and psychological consequences including sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancy, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, malnutrition, and suicidality. These consequences can disrupt normative development and persist into adulthood.1, 2

This resource provides answers to common questions that youth-supporting professionals may have about sex trafficking. Some of these questions may be of interest to all youth-supporting professionals, regardless of the young people with whom they work. Other questions may be of particular interest to youth-supporting professionals who work with young people who experience the child welfare and/or justice systems, homelessness, and/or disconnection from school and work.

  • What is sex trafficking?
  • What are the signs a young person may be a sex trafficking survivor?
  • How can you start a conversation with a young person who may be a sex trafficking survivor?
  • What sex trafficking screening and assessment tools have been developed for use with young people involved with the child welfare and/or justice system, experiencing homelessness, and/or disconnected from work and school?
  • What resources related to sex trafficking are available to young people who are sex trafficking survivors or youth-supporting professionals?
  • How prevalent is sex trafficking among young people involved with the child welfare and/or justice system, experiencing homelessness, and/or disconnected from work and school?
  • What are the links between sex trafficking and child welfare system involvement, justice system involvement, and experiencing homelessness?
  • What evidence-based programs are available to help young people involved with the child welfare and/or justice system, experiencing homelessness, and/or disconnected from work and school who are at risk for or survivors of sex trafficking?

By providing research-based answers to these questions, this resource can help professionals appropriately respond to the needs of young people who experience with the child welfare and/or justice systems, homelessness, and/or disconnection from school and work who are at risk for or survivors of sex trafficking.

  • What is sex trafficking?

  • What are the signs that a young person may be a sex trafficking survivor?

  • How can you start a conversation with a young person who may be a sex trafficking survivor?

  • What sex trafficking screening and assessment tools can be used with young people involved with the child welfare and/or justice system, experiencing homelessness, and/or disconnected from work and school?

  • What resources related to sex trafficking are available to young people who are sex trafficking survivors or youth-supporting professionals?

  • How prevalent is sex trafficking among young people involved with the child welfare and/or justice system, experiencing homelessness, and/or disconnected from work and school?

  • What are the links between sex trafficking and child welfare system involvement, justice system involvement, and experiencing homelessness?

  • What evidence-based programs are available to help young people involved with the child welfare and/or justice system, experiencing homelessness, and/or disconnected from work and school who are at risk for or a survivor of sex trafficking?

Endnotes

  • Acknowledgements

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