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Estimating the Prevalence of Trafficking Among Homeless and Runaway Youth Ages 14-25

NCJ Number
Date Published
59 pages
This is the Final Summary Overview of a project entitled the Atlanta Youth Count 2018 (AYC18), whose goal was to provide scientific data on sex and labor trafficking of homeless youth in Metro-Atlanta, in order to inform local policymaking in addressing this issue and to encourage a community-wide dialogue on the needs and social determinants of youth homelessness.

The centerpiece of the AYC18 was a brief, anonymous field survey of homeless youth contacted through outreach efforts led and conducted by local homeless-serving agencies and organizations in metro Atlanta. The survey was designed to collect from homeless youth information on their demographics; history of homelessness, including exploitative sex and labor trafficking involvement; and select social experiences, characteristics, and behavior. This information was collected from homeless and runaway youth ages 14-25 who did not have a permanent, stable residence and who were living independently without consistent parental or family support. Survey respondents who met these qualifications were contacted for the survey at shelters, motels, and other street and community locations where homeless people congregate. The three phases of the AYC18 that involved different activities are described. A total of 564 respondents completed the survey. In this sample, 27.3 percent of homeless youth experienced coercion by someone for whom they worked while they were homeless. The study found that 16.0 percent of the sample experienced commercial sexual exploitation while they had been homeless. Risk factors for sexual exploitation included being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender; being homeless for more than 1 year; having high levels of childhood trauma; and having had contact with the criminal justice system or foster care system. Based on these findings, four policy recommendations are presented. 2 tables and appended survey questionnaire

Date Published: January 1, 2019