Human Trafficking Prevalence and Child Welfare Risk Factors Among Homeless Youth: A Multi-City Study

The Field Center completed a three-city study as part of a larger initiative by Covenant House International to research human trafficking among homeless youth encompassing nearly 1,000 young people across 13 cities. The Field Center interviewed a total of 270 homeless youth, 100 in Philadelphia, 100 in Phoenix, and 70 in Washington, DC, to learn about the prevalence of human trafficking, and the history of child maltreatment, out of home placement, and protective factors among those who were sex trafficked or engaged in the sex trade to survive. Of those interviewed, 20% were victims of human trafficking, including 17% who were victims of sex trafficking and 6% who were victims of labor trafficking. Fourteen percent engaged in “survival sex” to meet their basic needs. A total of 36% of those interviewed reported engaging in a commercial sex act at some point in their lives.

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