strategies for addressing commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors is a key theme in Section 5 on recommended strategies for progress.

“No one sector, discipline, or area of practice can fully understand or respond effectively to the complex problems surrounding these crimes; collaboration and coordination among multiple sectors and agencies are necessary to mount an adequate response.”

CHILD WELFARE

As noted in Section 2, involvement in the child welfare system, including out-of-home placement, such as in group homes and foster care, may be a risk factor for commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors. Understanding the potential risks related to involvement in the child welfare system can help child welfare professionals recognize and address those risks and potentially prevent these crimes among youth already involved in the system.

While one of the primary responsibilities of child welfare is to prevent the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of children, this responsibility traditionally has not been applied to extrafamilial victimization, which generally has fallen within the purview of law enforcement [3, p. 2]. As emphasized in Section 1, commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors, at their core, are forms of child abuse. Child welfare agencies, therefore, have a responsibility to assist victims and survivors of these crimes. In addition, child welfare caseworkers may serve an important role as “gateway providers” to supportive services for victims and survivors of abuse [4].

The IOM/NRC report offers specific examples of efforts to enhance the involvement of child welfare in addressing these crimes. They include creating a specific “allegation of harm” for commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors to improve case management, requiring reporting to child protective services, raising awareness and building capacity in child welfare, and developing state guidelines and tools for child welfare professionals.

“Commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors, at their core, are forms of child abuse. Child welfare agencies, therefore, have a responsibility to assist victims and survivors of these crimes.”



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement