Primary Sources: Barriers--and Solutions--to Serving Young Victims of Sex Trafficking

Photograph of a young woman.

Doors Wide Shut: Barriers to the Successful Delivery of Victim Services for Domestically Trafficked Minors in a Southern U.S. Metropolitan Area” (abstract). Women & Criminal Justice, Vol. 20 No. 1/2, Jan.-Jun. 2010.

What it's about: The authors of this article wanted to know whether victims of domestic minor sex trafficking are able to access services that might keep them safe and help them escape exploitation. To that end, the researchers interviewed representatives of 18 youth-serving organizations in a popular tourist city known for prostitution.

Why read it: Sex trafficking of youth is a well-established concern in the international arena, but has only recently come into the spotlight as a domestic problem. Legislators and community leaders are becoming more and more interested in identifying what practices will best aid young Americans ensnared in "the life." This article investigates the challenges to serving exploited youth and proposes possible first steps for finding a solution.

Biggest takeaways for youth workers: The authors point to many challenges that youth workers and others face in serving exploited youth. First and foremost is recognizing whether a young person is being trafficked. In addition, services are rarely designed specifically young victims of sex trafficking, and often staff members of social service programs could benefit from learning about the unique issues these young people face. The authors recommend training agency staff members on identifying victims and responding to the many traumatic experiences they may have had.

Additional reference: This fact sheet (PDF, 42 KB) by the State of Florida Department of Children and Families provides helpful tips on identifying victims of sex trafficking. Later this month, we'll look at a report that focuses on the promising practices of the very few programs designed specifically these young people.

(Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of NCFY, FYSB or the Administration for Children and Families. Go to the NCFY literature database for abstracts of this and other publications.)


9-5 pm Eastern