New Report: Evaluation of Domestic Victims of Human Trafficking Demonstration Projects
Borrowed from the ACF Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation:
To improve services for domestic victims of human trafficking, ACF’s Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) awarded three grants in 2014 to implement demonstration projects. FYSB awarded three additional grants 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.
The final report, Evaluation of Domestic Victims of Human Trafficking Demonstration Projects: Final Report from the Second Cohort of Projects, presents findings from a cross-site process evaluation of these demonstration projects, including 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. Data presented were gathered through 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.
The brief, Domestic Victims of Human Trafficking Demonstration Projects: Service Models of the Second Cohort of Projects, describes the service models of the second cohort of projects that implemented 2-year demonstration projects in Billings, Montana; North Dakota and Clay County, Minnesota; and Multnomah County, Oregon. The descriptions of the service models were generated through interviews conducted in person during site visits and by telephone with project staff, clients, and key partners from each of the three projects, and a review of project materials and documents (e.g., grant progress reports). Additional evaluation data sources indirectly informed the projects’ service model descriptions, including cost questionnaires and information on clients served, services provided, and clients’ progress toward proximal outcomes reported by each project.
- 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 with 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 second cohort of domestic human trafficking demonstration projects all carried out activities to meet the objectives of the cooperative agreement, including assessing community needs and building service capacity with providers, developing and strengthening comprehensive victim-centered service models, addressing housing needs of victims, fostering and expanding community partnerships, developing networks to expand victims’ access to services, and promoting culturally appropriate trauma-informed services.
- The demonstration projects offer three unique examples of how organizations collaborated with community partners to identify, engage, and serve domestic victims of human trafficking. Lead organizations’ diverse backgrounds, community contexts, target populations, and partnerships resulted in the implementation of distinct project approaches to service delivery.
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