This is the first in a series of Issue Briefs produced under a contract with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), to conduct a study of HHS programs serving human trafficking victims. Funded in fall 2006, the purpose of this 12-month exploratory project is to develop information on how HHS programs are currently addressing the needs of victims of human trafficking, including domestic victims, with a priority focus on domestic youth. This project also consists of reviewing relevant literature, and identifying barriers and promising practices for addressing the needs of victims of human trafficking, with a goal of informing current and future program design and improving services to this extremely vulnerable population.
This issue brief focuses on minors who are victimized by sex traffickers across the United States and is intended to provide practical information about the characteristics and needs of these minors, and describe the type of residential programs and facilities currently providing services for this population. The promising practices discussed here were identified by directors and staff of residential facilities housing and serving minor victims of domestic trafficking, juvenile corrections facilities, programs for runaway and homeless youth, child protective services personnel, and law enforcement.
While many of the service providers and law enforcement officials we met with recognized that males and transgender youth are also victims of domestic sex trafficking, current emphasis and service delivery is focused on females. It was also the case that very few programs are identifying cases of domestic minor labor trafficking. Therefore, the information in this issue brief is limited to minor female victims of domestic sex trafficking.