The Colorado Project to Comprehensively Combat Human Trafficking: Community-Based Participatory Research in Action
Community-based participatory action research (CBPR) is an inclusive methodology well suited to researching, mitigating, and ending human trafficking. CBPR principles, including recognition of power dynamics across communities, allowing practitioners, stakeholders, and survivors to participate in the research design and analysis, and establishing norms of reciprocity and ongoing engagement, can enhance the quality of research produced to end human trafficking. This paper argues that CBPR can: 1) overcome limitations to common research designs currently utilized in human trafficking research efforts, 2) more effectively prioritize and respond to vulnerable populations, and 3) provide a longitudinal way to support practitioners seeking to reduce trafficking in communities. The Colorado Project is introduced as a specific example of a CBPR methodology. It highlights four ethical considerations when using CBPR: 1) balancing community values, needs, and identity with those of the individual; 2) negotiating power dynamics and relationships, particularly when working with stigmatized populations; 3) negotiating conflicting ethical requirements and expectations from Institutional Review Boards (IRBs); and 4) facilitating social action emerging from the findings.
Miller, A., Alejano-Steele, A. R., Finger, A., & Napolitano, K. (2022). The Colorado Project to comprehensively Combat Human Trafficking: Community-based participatory research in action. Journal of Human Trafficking, 8(1), 59–81. https://doi.org/10.1080/23322705.2021.2019532
Labor trafficking of children and youth in the United States: A scoping review
Child labor trafficking is a largely unexplored and unpublished phenomenon in the United States. The objective of this scoping review is to 1) characterize the state of the science on child labor trafficking, and 2) identify empirical information regarding risk and protective factors, and physical/behavioral health needs of labor-trafficked children/adolescents.
This scoping review involved an electronic review of five databases; the search was restricted to studies in English or Spanish and published between Jan 1, 2010-Oct 16, 2020. The search yielded 1190 articles; 48 studies qualified for full review and 8 met inclusion criteria (US-based study addressing risk factors/vulnerabilities for child labor trafficking; protective factors; health impact; or health/behavioral healthcare).
Only one study had sufficient sample size to compare sex to labor trafficking among minors; some did not separate data by age group or by type of trafficking. A few shared data from a common source; one was a single case review. Findings suggested that sex and labor trafficking may share common risk factors (e.g., prior child maltreatment and out-of-home placement) as well as within group differences (e.g., labor trafficked children had less prior child welfare involvement than those involved in sex trafficking and were more likely to be younger, male, Black or non-white, and Hispanic). Multiple physical/behavioral health symptoms were reported and may be useful items for a healthcare screen.
Core Guiding Principles for Applied Practice in Prevention, Identification, and Restoration: Anti-Trafficking Efforts for Better Health Outcomes
Provider challenges in responding to retrafficking of juvenile justice-involved domestic minor sex trafficking survivors
Background: Domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) survivors are disproportionately involved in the juvenile justice system, but frequently run away and experience retrafficking. However, little research explores how practitioners who work with juvenile justice-involved DMST survivors address such dynamics.
Objective: This study examines challenges related to chronic runaway behaviors and related retrafficking of juvenile justice-involved DMST survivors from the perspective of practitioners.
Participants and Setting: 35 in-depth interviews were conducted with social service and justice system practitioners working with DMST survivors in a Midwestern metropolitan area.
Methods: Inductive analysis of the transcribed interviews involved a multi-phase, independent co-coding process conducted by three members of the research team, including selective coding, open coding, and taxonomic analysis to identify recurring themes and subthemes. Core themes that focused on challenges experienced by practitioners working with minors who chronically ran away and returned to a trafficking situation were further developed.
Results: Practitioners reported that their ability to provide care to minors returning to trafficking situations was limited because of their informal authority in the juvenile justice system, inaccessibility of residential therapeutic care and drug treatment, and punitive measures directed toward parents seeking assistance from Children’s Division. Provider narratives indicated that without effective interventions, minors typically exit a retrafficking situation only after experiencing emotional distress, extreme violence, pregnancy or birth, or contracting an STI.
Conclusions: Non-punitive responses to address chronic runaway behaviors and retrafficking of minors in the justice system include: placement with foster families trained in dynamics of sex trafficking, trauma, and runaway behaviors; safety planning including risk assessments and providing resource information about drop in centers and healthcare; revising hotlining procedures for concerned parents; and increasing minors’ access to trauma-informed residential care, therapeutic care, and substance use treatment by legislatively expanding healthcare coverage under Safe Harbor laws.
Nichols, A. J., Gerassi, L. B., Gilbert, K., & Taylor, E. (2022). Provider challenges in responding to retrafficking of juvenile justice-involved domestic minor sex trafficking survivors. Child Abuse & Neglect, 126, 105521. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2022.105521