Building Child Welfare Response to Child Trafficking
The Problem -Child trafficking is one of the most disturbing human rights abuses of our time, involving cases of boys and girls trafficked for labor or sex. The U.S. State Department estimates that approximately 15,000-18,000 foreign individuals are trafficked into the U.S. each year. In addition, it is estimated thousands of U.S. citizen youth are trafficked each year. While children are estimated to comprise a large proportion of human trafficking victims in the U.S., they continue to represent the smallest victim class identified. Between 2001 and 2009, however, U.S. authorities successfully recognized only 304 foreign minors as victims of trafficking.
The Gap - Much of the current response to human trafficking in the United States has been addressing human trafficking survivors as one group, without allowing for special needs of children. From a systemic approach, child welfare agencies are in ideal position to identify and respond to child trafficking cases based on their existing mandate to work with vulnerable children and families - yet few agencies have the capacity and resources to do so.
The Solution – In response to this critical gap, the International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA) and the Center for the Human Rights of Children at Loyola University developed the Building Child Welfare Response to Child Trafficking Project. The purpose of the project is to address systemic gaps in knowledge, policies, and procedures within local child welfare agencies in the United States. This process and project has been captured in the handbook, "Building Child Welfare Response to Child Trafficking." The handbook provides policies, protocols and forms for incorporating child trafficking identification and response mechanisms into state and private child welfare systems, using Illinois as a case study.
Tools and resources included in the handbook:
- Human Trafficking of Children Identification Tool
- Human Trafficking of Children Screening Tools
- Summary of Services Available to Child Victims of Trafficking
- Legal Protections and Advocacy for Victims of Human Trafficking
- Case Management Toolkit for Child Victims
To date, the project has received national attention, including the utilization of the handbook as a reference for pending federal legislation, "Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Child Trafficking" (H.R. 2730). Over 200 organizations and individuals have received the handbook. Over 30 national child advocacy and child welfare organizations have posted information on the handbook, including the Child Welfare Information Gateway, American Bar Association Section of Litigation, Children's Rights Litigation, National Children's Advocacy Center, and American Humane Association.
Click here to view the Building Child Welfare Response to Child Trafficking Handbook.
To order a hard copy of the handbook, please contact:
The Center for the Human Rights of Children, Loyola University Chicago
Questions about the project or handbook? Please contact Katherine Kaufka Walts at firstname.lastname@example.org