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April 2021Vol. 22, No. 4Talking to Youth About Human Trafficking

A new guide seeks to educate caregivers and youth-serving adults on the exploitation and human trafficking of youth with the goal of enabling them to effectively reach and protect a vulnerable young population. The guide, released by the Blue Campaign, a national public awareness campaign that works closely with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to detect and combat human trafficking, contains information intended for use with middle school- and high school-aged youth.

Content is thorough, yet concise, and is organized in a digestible topical format. Sections discuss what human trafficking is; how to recognize it, including the physical, behavioral, and social indicators; the associated risk and protective factors; tips for talking to youth about exploitation; and how to report suspected human trafficking. Youth may particularly connect with the section that presents fictional, relatable examples of human trafficking that include scenarios such as youth desiring to fit in and those with too much freedom. The information is adaptable and can be easily used by adults in virtually any youth setting or program, such as classrooms, camps and clubs, community- or faith-based programs, and sports leagues.

The Blue Campaign was created to educate the public, law enforcement, and other community partners to recognize and respond to possible cases of human trafficking. Children and youth involved with child welfare are especially vulnerable to this type of maltreatment, so this guide is also beneficial for child welfare professionals. How to Talk to Youth About Human Trafficking: A Guide for Youth Caretakers and Individuals Working With Youth and additional campaign publications and awareness materials are available on the Blue Campaign website.