Human trafficking victimization is frequently associated with child abuse or neglect and out-of-home placements. This article presents the largest study to date of human trafficking allegations within a child welfare context, and one of the few to compare children with allegations of human trafficking to others in the child welfare population. It uses state administrative data to examine 4413 allegations of sex and labor trafficking involving 3420 children. These children were more than twice as likely as others to have experienced prior maltreatment. Among children with prior child welfare experience, those with trafficking allegations were twice as likely to have experienced out-of-home placements, > 5 times as likely to have experienced congregate care, and > 10 times as likely to have run away from placements. Although these data cannot be interpreted as representing the true prevalence of human trafficking within the child welfare population, they expand our understanding of known victims, with associated implications for research, practice and policy.
Human trafficking and the child welfare population in Florida