Improving Crime Victim Identification and Services Access for Homeless and Runaway Youth Exploited for Labor and/or Sex
Founded in 2016, Innovations Human Trafficking Collaborative (IHTC) is a survivor-led 501(c)3 nonprofit based in Olympia, Washington. We work to advance services to unidentified human trafficking victims by providing training, research, and technical assistance for protocol and program development to federal, state, tribal, faith-based, and nonprofit programs. Our partner for the proposed project is Community Youth Services (CYS) the largest child welfare agency in southwest WA. CYS has served runaway and homeless youth (RHY) in Thurston County for more than 45 years, and currently offers 20 interrelated programs that constitute a comprehensive continuum of care: emergency shelter, transitional housing and rapid rehousing, case management, mental health therapy, street outreach, foster care/juvenile diversion, education and employment support, and independent living skills. In the past few years, CYS has noted that many RHY ages 12-24 in their programs describe being exploited for sex or labor in some fashion, but neither CYS nor any regional partners working with RHY have a systematic screening process to determine whether youth meet Federal or State criteria as human trafficking victims or State criteria for victims of commercial sexual exploitation of a child (CSEC). As a result, RHY youth experiencing these crimes are rarely identified as crime victims, and they do not typically identify themselves that way, so appropriate services are not accessed.
Through this innovation grant, the Innovations Human Trafficking Collaborative (IHTC) in partnership with Community Youth Services (CYS) set the goal to facilitate early identification of runaway and homeless youth (ages 12-24) who are being exploited for sex or labor and improve their access to the full range of crime victim services. To achieve this goal, IHTC and CYS worked with the Thurston County Human Trafficking Task Force to jointly develop a victim-centered, trauma-informed screening tool and response protocol, to be implemented by CYS in their work with runaway and homeless youth in Thurston County, Washington.
Innovations Human Trafficking Collaborative
Innovations HTC is a survivor-led 501(c)3 nonprofit that works to improve recognition of human trafficking victims and their access to services through trauma-informed screening tools and response protocol.
IHTC works to advance services to unidentified human trafficking victims by providing training, research, and technical assistance for protocol and program development to federal, state, tribal, faith-based, and nonprofit programs.