FYSB's Steadfast Dedication to Address Human Trafficking

by Elizabeth Darling, Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF)

January offers a fresh start to a new year, and a new opportunity to highlight National Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Month across communities nationwide. Since 2011, National Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Month has drawn public attention to this criminal and public health issue that impacts children, youth, and families throughout the United States. This January, efforts to raise awareness about this issue include many initiatives across federal agencies and local communities, and I believe that our anti-trafficking work has never been more necessary.  Those of us who work with vulnerable youth and families understand the complex intersection between human trafficking and the population served by the programs in the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) and the Children’s Bureau (CB) within ACYF. As Commissioner, I am proud to reaffirm ACYF’s support of anti-trafficking initiatives, and our commitment to year-round work that addresses human trafficking within our programs.

No community is immune to human trafficking. As the President expressed in this year’s proclamation, trafficking is “an affront to humanity that tragically reaches all parts of the world, including communities across our Nation. Each day, in cities, suburbs, rural areas, and tribal lands, people of every age, gender, race, religion, and nationality are devastated by this grave offense.” Particularly through FYSB’s work, I am reminded of at-risk youth and families’ vulnerability to human trafficking.

FYSB has created resources to build the capacity of service providers and the public to effectively address human trafficking. These include Human Trafficking for RHY-Serving Agencies: A Resource Guide and Bought and Sold, an essential publication developed by FYSB and the National Clearinghouse on sex trafficking and runaway and homeless youth. For programs working in the field of adolescent pregnancy prevention, our Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program (APP) team offers an e-learning course, Human Trafficking and Adolescents: What Adults Need to Know.  

Additionally, FYSB is hosting two webinars to discuss human trafficking topics.

On January 30th, FYSB is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Violence Prevention to host the webinar: “Connecting the Dots: The Intersections of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Human Trafficking.” We know that children and youth who experience high levels of traumatic situations are at higher risk of injury, mental health problems, teen pregnancy, domestic and intimate partner violence, and involvement in human trafficking incidents. This online training will discuss the latest research on ACEs and the intersection with human trafficking and vulnerable youth.

On Tuesday, February 4th, from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM EST, FYSB and Casa de Esperanza, a program funded by Family Violence Prevent and Services (FVPSA), will host the webinar “The Intersection of Human Trafficking and Domestic and Sexual Violence.” This webinar will discuss the findings of the report A Scan of the Field: Learning about Serving Survivors of Human Trafficking. This study conducted by Casa de Esperanza reveals how domestic and sexual violence organizations are serving trafficking survivors and provides recommendations for the domestic violence field. Please register and join us for this webinar.

On behalf of FYSB, I thank our grantees and all our colleagues and partners who operate on a daily basis to help the most vulnerable youth and families— not only in January, but throughout the year.

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