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December/January 2022Vol. 22, No. 11Identifying and Supporting Youth Involved in or at Risk of Commercial Child Sexual Exploitation

Casey Family Programs released an issue brief that explores risk factors, screening, prevention, placement consideration, and services for victims of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). Human trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry, and children and youth who are involved in foster care have a higher risk of being trafficked than those not in care. Combatting it has traditionally been under the umbrella of law enforcement, although legislation from the past several years in particular, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 and the 2014 Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act has shifted some of the responsibility for identifying and service providing to the child welfare system.

This issue brief serves as an introduction to the role that child welfare agencies play in identifying and supporting youth who may be victims of child sexual exploitation and what actions they can take. This can include screening tools to identify victims and prevention programs to raise awareness of behaviors and risk factors. It is important that screening tools and prevention programs be culturally competent and respectful. Agencies can use the screening tools and programs listed in the issue brief as they are or use them as a starting point for developing their own tools. The issue brief focuses on the increased risk within congregate care placements for CSEC and providing services and evidence-based interventions for CSEC survivors. 

To learn more, read How Can Child Protection Agencies Identify and Support Youth Involved in or at Risk of Commercial Child Sexual Exploitation?