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January/February 2017Vol. 17, No. 10Special Initiative: National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The National Human Trafficking Hotline defines trafficking as a crime that "occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud, or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against his/her will." While there is no single profile for trafficking victims—men and women of all ages, races, and socioeconomic status have been found as victims of trafficking in all 50 States—children and youth who have run away or are in out-of-home care have a particularly high risk of being trafficked. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children found that 1 in 5 of the 11,800 reported runaways were probable sex-trafficking victims. That ratio is up from both 2013 and 2014. Additionally, the Center found that 74 percent of these probable victims were in the care of social services.

Children and youth who are trafficked may experience complex trauma that affects them in many ways—from mental health issues, such has having trouble building trusting relationships, to physical ones such as untreated injuries or addiction. Child welfare professionals may find the resources listed below useful in learning about how to best serve these children and youth.


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