Domestic minor human trafficking (HT) is a growing social justice concern, particularly among youth in the child welfare system. This paper uses administrative data to describe the characteristics and experiences of a population of youth in the child welfare system considered to be at particularly high risk of victimization: youth who have run from foster care. Analyses are based on nearly 37,000 youth with at least one foster care placement at age 10 or older between 2011 and 2017. We examine the characteristics of youth with and without at least one foster care runaway episode, and the characteristics of youth with and without one or more HT allegations during runaway status. Of the youth with at least one foster placement at age 10 or older, approximately 19% (n = 7039) had at least one foster care runaway episode; and of these youth, 7% (n = 542) had an HT allegation while on runaway status. Youth with HT allegations (compared to those without) during a foster care runaway episode were more likely to: be female, experience prior physical, psychological and sexual abuse, run from care at a younger age, experience more foster care placements since entry into the child welfare system, and experience more missing episodes since age 10. For most (70%) youth with a human trafficking allegation during runaway status, the first identified trafficking allegation occurred during a foster care runaway episode. Most (67%) youth did not have another HT allegations up to a year later. Implications for research and child welfare policy and programs are discussed.
Human trafficking victimization among youth who run away from foster care
Latzman, N. E., Gibbs, D. A., Feinberg, R. K., Kluckman, M. N., & Aboul-Hosn, S. (2019). Human trafficking victimization among youth who run away from foster care. Children and Youth Services Review, 98, 113-124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.12.022, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.12.022