Best Practices and Recommendations for States
The National Advisory Committee on the Sex Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States (the Committee) has published Best Practices and Recommendations for States to combat the sex trafficking of children and youth in the United States.
The report contains 127 recommendations with related resources and examples for states to consult as they respond to the sex trafficking of children and youth within their jurisdictions.
The recommendations fall under the following topic areas:
- Multidisciplinary Response
Combating the sex trafficking of children and youth requires a collaborative response to meet the complex needs of children and youth who have experienced sex trafficking while holding perpetrators accountable.
- Screening and Identification
Screening for sex trafficking is vital to identify children and youth who have experienced or are at risk of experiencing sex trafficking, and to ensure they can access the services they are entitled to receive.
- Child Welfare
State and tribal child welfare systems are responsible for promoting the well-being of children and youth by ensuring their safety and strengthening families, which includes protecting and serving children and youth who have experienced sex trafficking.
- Service Provision
Once identified, children and youth who have experienced sex trafficking require a wide range of emergency and long-term services tailored to meet their individual needs. These services must address underlying vulnerabilities and risk factors that put children and youth at risk for exploitation.
Housing is one of the most immediate and critical needs for children and youth who have experienced sex trafficking, especially for those who are experiencing homelessness. Housing needs vary greatly due to the range of presenting factors.
- Law Enforcement and Prosecution
To achieve successful accountability and prosecution of offenders, agencies must embrace cooperation and coordination among multiple jurisdictions, including sharing data and information and forming non-traditional partnerships.
Judges in state and tribal courts have the ability to convene multidisciplinary collaborations and work across jurisdictions to respond and deliver services to children and youth who have experienced sex trafficking and hold offenders accountable.
- Demand Reduction
As long as the demand to purchase sex with children and youth exists, traffickers will continue to view children and youth as commodities from which to profit. To address the sex trafficking of children and youth comprehensively, states must address demand in their response models.
States must allocate attention and resources to effective prevention strategies to address the sex trafficking of children and youth. Using the socioecological model of risk, states can address key factors that put children and youth at risk of experiencing sex trafficking.
- Legislation and Regulation
States have the opportunity to use legislation to show their commitment to addressing and preventing the sex trafficking of children and youth. Policies and procedures should be used to hold traffickers accountable while improving and enhancing protective measures for those who are victimized and vulnerable.
- Research and Data
Rigorous data collection and evaluation related to state and federal efforts to combat the sex trafficking of children and youth should be used to inform training, prevention, service provision, and criminal justice responses to the issue.
- Funding and Sustainability
Funding directly impacts services delivered and the continued ability to respond to the needs of children and youth who have experienced sex trafficking. Developing innovative funding sources and partnerships will significantly enhance the success of states’ responses to the trafficking of children and youth.
State Self-Assessment Survey
After reviewing the report, each state will identify a point of contact to collaborate with government agencies, non-government organizations, and other relevant groups to evaluate their state’s efforts to implement the Committee’s recommendations and highlight innovative and successful work.
After receiving the states’ self-assessments, the Committee will evaluate their adoption of the recommendations and publish a final report on each state’s progress in implementing the recommendations.