This tipsheet discusses key strategies to address, prevent, identify, and intervene in situations of peer-to-peer human trafficking recruitment within Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY settings. Positive Youth Development (PYD), a prosocial evidence-based approach that focuses on identifying youth strengths, increasing protective factors, and building resilience, provides a foundation for this tip sheet. Strengthening family relationships, peer support, positive self-esteem, and opportunities to lead are all aspects of PYD linked to effective human trafficking prevention and intervention, including in situations of peer-to-peer recruitment. Additionally, the strategies presented in this tipsheet are drawn from trauma-informed and public health perspectives, which ensures that responses to peer-to-peer recruitment are supportive of youth by understanding their unique experiences.

What Can Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) Programs Do to Identify and Prevent Labor Trafficking Among RHY?

A study conducted by the Modern Slavery Research Project at Loyola University reveals that RHY are particularly vulnerable to being recruited into labor trafficking. Scam traffickers pose as job recruiters to approach RHY and offer them lucrative work opportunities in commission-based, in seemingly legitimate industries, such as sales, modeling, domestic work, and agriculture. RHY programs are in a unique position to decrease risk and identify young people who are victims of labor trafficking or exploitation. This workshop explores the ways labor trafficking affects youth experiencing homelessness, provide tools for identifying and preventing labor trafficking among RHY, and will present practical strategies for incorporating labor trafficking prevention into RHY settings. 

Human Trafficking among Runaway and Homeless Youth

To strengthen the capacity of RHY programs, the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) conducted an assessment to learn about the field practices, experiences, challenges, and needs with respect to identifying and supporting RHY at risk or victims of human trafficking. Over 300 RHY programs responded to an online survey, and a small subset participated in focus groups. Their responses provide a snapshot of the impact of human trafficking among the youth served by FYSB RHY funded programs. This factsheet highlights eight key findings from the analysis report to help increase awareness of issues surrounding youth homelessness and human trafficking.

Human Trafficking Prevention: Strategies for Runaway and Homeless Youth Settings

This Issue Brief recognizes the vital role that runaway and homeless youth (RHY) programs can play in the prevention of sex and labor trafficking among runaway and homeless youth. It also highlights the importance of integrating public health, trauma-informed, and positive youth development principles into human trafficking interventions. In addition to highlighting human trafficking (HT) risk factors, the brief offers a variety of HT prevention components that can be easily integrated into programmatic activities, such as discussing with youth how to recognize a "too good to be true" job or building safety nets to support RHY.

SOAR to Health and Wellness: Human Trafficking Training for Youth Service Professionals

Youth and young adult victims of trafficking can present a wide range of physical and psychological health issues and social service needs. This online training aims to educate youth service providers and public health professionals on how to identify, treat, and create a collaborative and appropriate response to vulnerable youth victims of human trafficking. 

Human Trafficking for RHY Serving Agencies: A Resource Guide

"Human Trafficking for Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) Serving Agencies: A Resource Guide" is a comprehensive introduction about the intersection of RHY programs and human trafficking. This resource provides information on a wide variety of topics overlapping RHY and human trafficking, including the following and is specifically written to address the unique needs of RHY programs.

  • Legal Definitions
  • The Role of RHY Programs
  • Program Models
  • Building a Collaborative Community Approach

Human Trafficking in Youth-Serving Programs

"Human Trafficking in Youth-serving Programs: A Blueprint for Organizations Working with Street Youth, Homeless Youth, and Youth at Risk” serves as an introduction to important information for any youth-serving organization considering providing services to homeless youth who have been trafficked. The resource addresses issues such as:

  • Common Misconceptions
  • Recruitment into Labor and Sex Trafficking
  • Understanding Risk and Protective Factors
  • Prevention and Intervention
  • Approaches to Work with Trafficked Youth

Labor Trafficking Infographic

This labor trafficking infographic reflects key statistics and findings from a study conducted by Covenant House and the University of Loyola, New Orleans in 11 major cities in the U.S on labor trafficking among RHY. This resource can be easily downloaded, shared, and utilized to discuss the impact of labor trafficking on RHY. 

Online Recruitment of Youth via Social Media and the Internet

This social media document discusses the recruitment of youth through social media platforms and highlights strategies to assist grantees in discussing this topic with youth.

 Poster "RHY are Recruited for Sex and Labor Trafficking in Person and Online"

This poster was designed to increase awareness of the recruitment of RHY into human trafficking. Grantees are encouraged to download or share this poster with local community partners.