The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Guidance to States and Services on Addressing Human Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States

The Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) of the Department of Health and Human Services has released a Guidance to States and Services on Addressing Human Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States.

"Human trafficking is a growing concern for our nation. Also known as modern slavery, human trafficking is a crime that involves the exploitation of a person for the purpose of compelled labor or a commercial sex act. Since the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) in 2000, law enforcement investigators, social service providers, and community leaders have reported cases of forced labor, debt bondage, involuntary servitude, and sex trafficking, impacting a diverse range of populations including men, women, and children, who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or foreign nationals."

In particular, children and youth are at risk of being affected by human trafficking. "Although most cases of child trafficking are identified as sex trafficking, cases of child labor trafficking have been identified in agricultural work, restaurants, and peddling and begging rings. In particular, runaway and homeless youth programs have identified young adults and teenagers recruited into traveling sales crews with the promise of travel, friends, and money, only to have been subsequently coerced to sell goods such as magazines, candy, and cleaning supplies. Crew leaders use verbal, physical, and sexual abuse; quotas and debt schemes; and threats of abandonment as means of control."

The guidance provided by ACYF to states and service programs intends "to build greater awareness and better response to the problem of child trafficking. [...] This guidance focuses on emerging knowledge and practices that systems and services can consider integrating into existing activities."