Evaluation of Domestic Victims of Human Trafficking Demonstration Projects: Final Report from the Second Cohort of Projects

Publication Date: January 23, 2019
Evaluation of Domestic Victims of Human Trafficking Demonstration Projects: Final Report from the Second Cohort of Projects Cover

Download Report

Download Report PDF (4,327.66 KB)
  • File Size: 4,327.66 KB
  • Pages: N/A
  • Published: 2018


Research Questions

  1. How did projects foster partnerships, enhance community capacity to identify and respond to domestic trafficking survivors, and provide coordinated case management and comprehensive victim services?
  2. What were the characteristics and experiences of trafficking survivors served by the projects and to what extent did survivors served make progress toward outcomes?
  3. What were the costs of key program components?

This report documents the experiences of the second cohort of three cooperative agreement awardees that implemented the Domestic Victims of Human Trafficking (DVHT) demonstration projects from October 2015 through September 2017 in Billings, Montana; North Dakota and Clay County, Minnesota; and Multnomah County, Oregon to improve services to domestic victims of human trafficking in their communities.

Domestic human trafficking involves forced labor and sexual exploitation of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents including men and women; and children, youth, and adults. To improve services for domestic victims of human trafficking, the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded three cooperative agreements in 2014 to implement demonstration projects. FYSB awarded three additional cooperative agreements in 2015. The intent of the demonstration program was to build, expand, and sustain organizational and community capacity to deliver trauma-informed, culturally relevant services for domestic victims of human trafficking through a coordinated system of agency services and partnerships with community-based organizations and allied professionals.

This publication is the second report from the cross-site process evaluation of ACF’s DVHT demonstration program. The evaluation is overseen by ACF’s Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE), in collaboration with FYSB, and conducted by RTI International. The report presents evaluation findings pertaining to

  • how projects expanded community capacity to identify and respond to domestic trafficking victims;
  • the characteristics and experiences of survivors served by the projects;
  • how projects provided comprehensive victim services; and
  • the cost of case management.

The report includes a summary of overall lessons learned and considerations for future programs.


ACF’s DVHT demonstration program is intended to enhance organizational and community capacity to identify domestic victims of human trafficking and deliver comprehensive, victim-centered case management and services. FYSB selected organizations for the DVHT demonstration program that were part of broad service provider coalitions and served populations vulnerable to trafficking, but that historically had not provided tailored services for domestic victims of human trafficking or that had only recently begun to identify trafficking victims and provide some specialized services to meet their needs. This approach allowed FYSB to examine if and how organizations that had not traditionally served domestic trafficking victims could build capacity to serve this population.

The purposes of the DVHT cross-site evaluation are to inform ACF’s efforts to improve services for domestic trafficking survivors, enhance performance measurement, and guide future evaluation. The evaluation of the second cohort of DVHT demonstration projects was designed to detect projects’ practice strategies for:

  • building and expanding organizational and community capacity to identify and serve domestic trafficking victims;
  • identifying and engaging domestic trafficking victims in service delivery;
  • providing case management;
  • coordinating comprehensive services across the range of needed providers; and
  • tailoring services to individuals who have experienced domestic trafficking.

Key Findings and Highlights

  • The three demonstration projects carried out a variety of activities and collaborated with diverse project partners to develop and expand organizational and community capacity to identify and serve trafficking victims.
  • The projects’ diverse organizational backgrounds, target populations, community contexts, and partners shaped the design and implementation of innovative and unique service delivery models. Projects were: two runaway and homeless youth organizations, both based in rural service areas, and a sexual assault resource center located in an urban setting. Demonstration projects and their partners implemented a variety of services tailored to the specific needs of trafficking survivors, including host homes, substance abuse treatment groups, and a transitional group shelter.
  • A total of 159 clients (representing 148 unique individuals) were provided case management services across the three projects. Out of this 159, 147 clients were reported to have been trafficked. Among the 147 trafficked clients, 111 (76%) were sex trafficked, 23 (16%) were labor trafficked, and 13 (8%) experienced sex and labor trafficking. The varied characteristics of clients reflect the diversity of projects’ service models and referral sources.
  • Projects and partners offered comprehensive case management and a variety of services to meet client needs; however, lack of appropriate, accessible services and individual-level client factors were key barriers to service engagement and delivery. The most commonly provided services were emotional support, personal items (e.g., clothing, toiletries), and housing financial assistance. The services most likely to be associated with service delivery barriers included mental health treatment, employment, substance abuse treatment, education, and life skills.
  • Case managers and partner staff employed several strategies and techniques to provide trauma-informed, victim-centered, culturally relevant, and developmentally appropriate services to trafficking victims. Some approaches included motivational interviewing, behavior change and harm reduction strategies, offering opportunities for survivor engagement and feedback, partnering with organizations that serve specific subpopulations (e.g., Native American tribes), and providing services specifically tailored for young adult or minor trafficking victims.
  • Client “successes” ranged from small to large accomplishments and were unique to clients’ individual goals and personal situations. Although definitions and indicators of client success varied greatly, clients achieved several types of desired goals, from establishing a safety plan, to short-term goals (e.g., obtaining medical care, submitting job applications), to completing a long-term goal (e.g., receiving a GED). Many clients reported making strides toward increased resilience, self-esteem, and confidence throughout service engagement.
  • Evaluation outcomes varied with clients’ status at intake and their length of program engagement. Positive outcomes were identified among clients with greater needs at intake and longer engagement in project services, based on the evaluation’s Assessment of Client Status. However, negative changes were identified among clients with more positive assessments at intake who engaged in services for 1 year or more. Possible explanations for this finding are discussed in Chapter 6 in the Assessment of Client Status section.
  • All clients interviewed (N=21) reported that they were satisfied with demonstration project services but some clients (n=4) described dissatisfaction with services received from partner organizations. Clients attributed demonstration projects for helping them achieve safety and stability and progress toward healing and their personal goals. Across projects, clients said that consistent and non-judgmental support, advocacy, and assistance from their case manager was the most important aspect of their experience with demonstration project services.


The evaluation used a mixed-methods approach that included qualitative and quantitative components. Data collection included in-person and telephone interviews with project staff, key partners, and clients from each project; case narrative interviews with case managers; a review of project materials and documents; cost questionnaires; and information on clients served, services provided, and clients’ progress toward proximal outcomes reported by each project.


Krieger, K., Hardison Walters, J. L., Kluckman, M., Feinberg, R., Gremminger, M., Orme, S., Misra, S., and Gibbs, D. A. (2018). Evaluation of domestic victims of human trafficking demonstration projects: Final report from the second cohort of projects. Report # 2018-102, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


domestic victims of human trafficking
Family and Youth Services Bureau
Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation
Current as of: