National Advisory Committee on the Sex Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States

Best Practices and Recommendations for States

Publication Date: September 15, 2020

Introduction

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 (PDF) to combat the sex trafficking of children and youth in the United States.

Recommendations

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:

  1. 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.
     
  2. 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.
  1. 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.
     
  2. 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.
  1. Housing
    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.
  1. 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.
     
  2. Judiciary
    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.
     
  3. 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.
     
  4. Prevention
    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.
     
  5. 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.
     
  6. 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.
     
  7. 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.

Current as of: