Trafficking of Children and Youth with Disabilities Outreach and Education Project
The International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA), in collaboration with the National Human Trafficking and Disabilities Working Group (NHTDWG), partnered together through this project to increase identification of children and youth with disabilities who are victims of human trafficking and improve their ability to access appropriate services. IOFA and NHTDWG through this innovation grant, provided targeted education, training and outreach materials and tools to organizations serving trafficked youth; youth with disabilities; and at-risk youth; and to youth themselves.
This project’s goals were to 1) Increase the number of children and youth with disabilities in the U.S. identified as victims of human trafficking; and 2) Improve the capacity of youth-serving organizations across the U.S. to identify and serve youth with disabilities who are victims of trafficking.
The International Organization for Adolescents
The International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA) is a small, independent 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1999 by graduate students from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in response to the gap in programming and services for vulnerable adolescents around the world. Based in Chicago, IOFA’s mission is to eliminate human trafficking and exploitation of adolescents worldwide through innovative programming and solutions to empower and protect young people.
For the past 20 years, IOFA has carried out its mission through building effective community-level partnerships to impact vulnerable children and youth including those who are parentless, in foster care, orphaned, LGBTQ, juvenile justice involved, have disabilities, born to immigrant parents, living in poverty, or otherwise marginalized. IOFA works with partners to 1) build institutional capacity and conduct policy advocacy at the state and federal level; 2) train and provide technical assistance to service providers in social service, health care, law enforcement, and other sectors; and 3) carry out research, education, and outreach to the public.
IOFA advises several anti-trafficking task forces; is a co-founder and coordinator for the National Human Trafficking and Disabilities Working Group; founding member of the Freedom Network USA; and current training and technical assistance provider to the United States’ Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) on issues related to sex trafficking of children and youth.