Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $370,000)
This study will address the underreporting of minor victim trafficking by describing the number of trafficked minors identified by two of the systems most likely to encounter themlaw enforcement and child welfareand documenting lessons learned as the child welfare system builds capacity to meet the challenges of the only enacted statewide legislation in conformance with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Specific objectives include describing the number and characteristics of trafficked minors referred to the child welfare system by law enforcement or identified among current child welfare wards; statistically assessing the potential underreporting of trafficking within the child welfare system; describing the characteristics of sex and labor trafficked minors in terms of demographics, prior and current involvement with child welfare and juvenile justice, referral source, and geographic factors; and describing perspectives of leaders and organizations on the systems change process.
Data for the study consist of de-identified administrative data from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services for all minors referred to the agency by law enforcement and other sources over 1.5 years, with a separate sample representing all wards at a single point in time as a validation sample. Analytic methods include logistic regression, propensity score matching and latent class models, and systematic qualitative analysis.
This study will yield data on minor victim trafficking that can be used by practitioners, policymakers, and researchers. It will generate statewide data that significantly improve on the estimates currently available, including the number and characteristics of minors identified as trafficked or as being at risk of trafficking. Findings will support empirically informed recommendations for service development, program planning, and policymaking within the fields of criminal justice, child welfare, and juvenile justice at federal, state, local, and tribal levels.