Primary Sources: Serving Female Victims of Sex Trafficking


Finding a Path to Recovery:  Residential Facilities for Minor Victims of Domestic Sex Trafficking” Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation , U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. September 2007.

What it's about: The authors of this paper wanted to learn how HHS programs can better serve young people who have been trafficked for sex. The researchers spent 12 months studying what some HHS-funded social service programs are currently doing to help young trafficking victims.  The report also includes a review of literature on the characteristics and needs of these young people.

Why read it: Knowing what approaches have been successful may help youth workers identify, assist and ensure the safety of trafficked youth, who often don’t view themselves as victims.

Biggest takeaways for youth workers: To encourage young people to use services, the authors recommend that programs create a safe space away from pimps where young people can recover from their trauma and begin a new life. These facilities should be adequately funded to offer a stay long enough to allow survivors of sex trafficking to build trusting relationships with youth workers.  Ideally, the authors write, young victims should interact closely with other young people who have had similar experiences.

Additional reference: This paper came out of a larger study of HHS programs that serve human trafficking victims. An overview and links to all resulting issue briefs can be found at

(Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of NCFY, FYSB or the Administration for Children and Families. Go to the NCFY literature database for abstracts of this and other publications.)

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