The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) developed this resource center to provide new and experienced judicial officers and courts with the tools they need to enhance their ability to address these challenging cases. This toolkit is organized by topic and includes Understanding the Scope of the Problem, Interpreting the Legal Landscape, Implementing Promising Practices, and Leveraging Judicial Leadership. The Resource Center was developed with the support of the NoVo Foundation, Rights4Girls, National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project (NIWAP) Awaken, National American Indian Court Judges Association (NAICJA), and consultants Honorable John Romero (Ret.) and Toni McKinley, MA, LPC.
The Role of the Court in Empowering Youth Survivors of Sex Trafficking Series Events
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and its subsequent reauthorizations define human trafficking as:
- Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or
- The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. (22 U.S.C. § 7102(9)).
An NCJFCJ factsheet. Judicial Officers are likely to come in contact with children who are being sex trafficked. Learn more about the statistics of encountering a youth who is being sex trafficked in this report.
An NCJFCJ factsheet on the common myths and misconceptions of trafficked youth.
Developed by Polaris. A quick guide to understanding the methods through which traffickers manipulate children. By understanding the methods employed by traffickers it is easier to recognize trafficking situations.
This journal article by Dr. Ginny Sprang and Dr. Jennifer Cole describes the conditions through which children are trafficked by family members as well as the impact of family trafficking on child wellbeing. This study can help communities identify and provide effective responses for children who are trafficked for sex by family members.
Shared Hope International. Factsheet on warning signs of familial trafficking.
Rights4Girls – Defining domestic child sex trafficking and the charges youth who are being trafficked are arrested for.
Rights4Girls – A brief statistical breakdown of why young people in the child welfare system are more likely to be trafficked for sex.
Developed by the Capacity Building Center for States. Examines what states and counties can learn from data in their child welfare case management systems and reported in the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) about youth who run away from State custody, how data can be used to learn more about this high-risk population, and how this knowledge can inform interventions.
Rights4Girls – A disproportionate number of Black girls are being trafficked for sex. Learn some of the systemic factors that put Black girls in greater danger of sex trafficking.
Rights4Girls – There are race and gender disparities in who is being trafficked for sex and who is buying sex. Learn more about the statistics in this report.
Journal article by Dr. Juliane Kloess, Dr. Anthony Beech, and Dr. Leigh Harkins describing the process of online sexual exploitation of children. This article also describes the characteristics of groomers and other internet perpetrators.
Neuropsychology of Trafficking Trauma
NCJFCJ and Toni McKinley, MA, LPC present this 90-minute webinar and Q&A session. Youth who have experienced trafficking have endured intense and prolonged traumatization. This trauma fundamentally rewrites the central nervous system of people who have survived trafficking. In this webinar, we discuss the neuropsychology of the trauma response to trafficking. Court staff who watch this video will walk away able to describe children’s biological response to sex trafficking and explain how using a trauma-informed lens will help youth who have survived trafficking.
Reducing Demand for Child Sex Trafficking
Who buys sex from children, and why? Tens of thousands of children are sexually exploited every year in the United States. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), there were 21.4 million electronic reports of suspected child sexual exploitation in 2020, nearly double 2019 reports. The market for child sex trafficking is driven by demand for the sexual exploitation of children by people in our communities. Through this 90-minute webinar and Q&A session you will learn:
- Who buys sex from children.
- The harms caused by sex buyers.
- Strategies to reduce demand for child sex trafficking in your area.
Addressing Guilt, Shame, and Stigma for Survivors in Child Sex Trafficking Cases
Guilt, shame, and stigma are the results of trauma and exploitation. Young people who have survived child sex trafficking will present in court carrying the weight of the guilt, shame, and stigma associated with their sexual exploitation. Guilt, shame, and stigma are harmful, may be easily triggered, and present in a number of ways.
In this webinar the Honorable Barbara Mack (Ret.), Board Director, NCJFJ, and Leslie Briner, MSW discuss guilt, shame, and stigma:
- How they present in behaviors and actions,
- Prevention in the courtroom, social service settings, or elsewhere, and
- Trauma-Informed Responses
Developed in partnership with the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention, Youth Collaboratory, and Wichita State University Center for Combating Human Trafficking, this toolkit is a resource for multidisciplinary professionals, policymakers, volunteers, faith communities, and others involved in anti-trafficking work. It provides information on a variety of topics related to human trafficking with a specific focus on mentoring for commercial sexual exploitation victims.
Legal Rights of Immigrant Children who are Survivors of Sex Trafficking
An overview of the legal rights and protections of immigrant children who are victims of commercial sex trafficking. The first session provides participants with resources and tools to assist judges in providing assistance to immigrant children who are victims of human trafficking to be able to qualify for immigration relief. The second session guides judges on how to direct parties and child welfare to take the steps needed to ensure that child sex trafficking victims receive all of the forms of help and assistance including state and federal public benefits that they are legally eligible to receive.
Legal Protections for Immigrant Children Who Are Victims of Human Trafficking
Faculty: Honorable Susan Breall and Leslye Orloff, JD
Legal Rights of Immigrant Child Commercial Sex Trafficking Survivors: Public Benefits, Housing, & Victim Services
Faculty: Honorable Ramona Gonzalez and Leslye Orloff, JD
Additional Resources – Legal Rights & Protections of Immigrant Children
An overview of Federal, Tribal, and State laws pertinent to judges presiding over domestic child sex trafficking cases.
Shared Hope’s enhanced legal framework for state laws to protect children of sex trafficking, can be found here. This legal framework is the basis of their state report cards found here. The state report cards include an overall grade for the state’s laws as well as a law analysis. To access a specific state’s report card and law analysis, click on the state within the map.
Understanding and Communicating with Youth Survivors of Sex Trafficking
Developed by NCJFCJ with Honorable John Romero (Ret.) and Toni McKinley, MA, LPC. A series of short videos on how to use compassionate listening to build a sense of safety in the courtroom for young people who survived sex trafficking.
Understanding Youth Behavior
Engaging Youth Choice and Voice
Q&A Understanding and Communicating with Youth Survivors of Sex Trafficking
NCJFCJ in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Children, in particular, children in Indian Country are especially vulnerable to human trafficking. This worksheet provides guidance for tribal courts in developing a strategic plan.
Memorandum Summarizing the Available Screening Tools to Identify Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC)
Developed by the West Coast Children’s Clinic. A matrix and memorandum describing all the tools that are available to identify commercially sexually exploited children.
A study of the implementation of Safe Harbor laws found that the laws increase the number of youths being screed for sex trafficking and being referred to services. The study also revealed that judges and state agency personnel need more training on how to manage and respond to youth victims of sex trafficking and need to collaborate more across agencies.
Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Resources Center. A series of recorded webinars and best practices in addressing the needs of human trafficking survivors. It Includes webinars on how to use assessment tools.
A resolution adopted by the NCJFCJ Board of Directors in February 2013 and revised and adopted in March 2016 committing to a future where children who are the victims of sex trafficking are identified as victims and provided appropriate trauma-informed services.
Training for judges that address the serious issue of child sex trafficking in the United States. Developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice, and Delinquency Prevention and Rights4Girls. This institute provides judges with a highly interactive educational opportunity to expand their knowledge of trafficking risk factors, victim identification, effective intervention strategies, cultural considerations, and much more.
Developed in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These bench cards aid judicial officers in asking trauma-informed questions, developing a clearer picture of childhood trauma in order to assess needs, and considering trauma as decisions are made regarding a child’s home placement.
Developed in collaboration with the NCJFCJ, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The focus of this publication is on judicial action that ensures a coordinated response.
the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. This publication focuses on judicial leadership efforts all over the country that have shifted how the court responds to DCST.
- National Center for Juvenile Justice
Family Violence and Domestic Relations
- Animal Cruelty and Family and Interpersonal Violence
- Child Custody and Supervised Visitation
- Children Exposed to Violence
- Civil Protection Orders
- Comprehensive Training and Technical Assistance to Judges
- Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment
- Elder Abuse
- Firearms and Domestic Violence
- Teen Dating Violence
Child Welfare and Juvenile Law
- Crossover Prevention Case Planning for Child Welfare Workers
- Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Courts
- Child Abuse and Neglect
- Domestic Child Sex Trafficking
- Foster Care and Adoption
- Juvenile Justice Reform
- Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court
- Mental Health
- Military-Connected Families
- Substance Use and the Courts
- Trauma-informed Courts
- 5 Ways Juvenile and Family Courts can use Public Health Data to Address Substance Use
- About the NCJFCJ
- Designing Your Program
- Get Involved
- Institute for New Juvenile and Family Court Judges 2022 Materials
- Judicial Wellness Initiative
- NCJFCJ Bench Card Resource Center
- Reasonable Efforts - 2nd Edition
- Resolutions and Policy Statements
- Tailoring Responses for Youth
- Upcoming Events
- Using Data and Sustaining Your Program
- Working in a JDTC Team
- Working with Families