Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Youth

about this project

The Office of the Governor has funded this project to assess the landscape of prevention and treatment services for victims of minor sex trafficking victims in the state. As the need for these services continues to grow, our team is working to identify potential gaps and determine what supports are needed to serve this vulnerable population. Additional resources can be found directly through our statewide partners: Office of Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and Texas Health and Human Services. 

If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, find support through the National Human Trafficking Hotline. 

webinars/ Digital trainings 

peer reviewed literature 

human trafficking victimization among youth who run away from foster care

Authors: Natasha E. Latzman, Deborah A. Gibbs, Rose Feinberg, Marianne N. Kluckman, & Sue Aboul-Hosn

This paper uses administrative data to describe the characteristics and experiences of a population of youth in the child welfare system considered to be at particularly high risk of victimization: youth who have run away from foster care. For most (70%) youth with a HT allegation during runaway status, the first identified trafficking allegation occurred during a foster care runaway episode. Most (67%) youth did not have another HT allegation up to a year later. Implications for research and child welfare policy and programs are discussed. Download here. 

Authors: Gail Hornor & Jennifer Sherfield

Academic resource that describes a study supporting the concept that "pediatric healthcare specialists should be better trained to identify and response to sexually exploited children and youth. These professionals should also in turn educate parents on their responsibility and ability to protect their children from sexual exploitation of any kind." Download here. 

Authors: Makini Chisolm-Straker Jeremy Sze, Julia Einbond, James White & Hanni Stoklosa

Resource describes a study that "shows that homeless teens with a supportive adult in their life may have lower odds of being exploited through trafficking." Includes data collected from Nov. 2015- Feb. 2017 that support this claim, as well as an overview of other potential factors that may prevent sex trafficking among homeless youth. Download here. 

Authors: Jennifer S. Middlelton, Maurice N. Gattis, Laura M. Frey & Dominique Roe-Sepowitz 

Academic article that explores the unique vulnerabilities of at-risk youth experiencing homelessness to being sexuality exploited. Describes a convenience survey conducted in Kentucky and Indiana, that found that 41% of homeless youth were victims of sex trafficking. Includes findings that highlight the need for trauma-informed care for LGBTQ youth. Download here. 

Author: Annie Corbett

The study design uniquely positioned the voices of survivors as experts in relation to expanding knowledge about the exiting process and in offering recommendations for youth-at-risk, family members, and providers. Contributions include underscoring the importance of bearing witness to youths' stories as part of resiliency/ recovery and valuing the complexities of family relationships/dynamics in the exiting process. Implications for advocacy, research, and practice are discussed. Download here. 

Author: Jennifer Cole

This study examined how sex trafficking of male minors may differ or be similar to sex trafficking of female minors. Familial sex trafficking was one of the typical pathways into commercial sexual exploitation for minors. There were some differences in the pathways in sex trafficking by gender. There is a need for greater awareness, training, and resource-building for identifying and appropriately responding to male minors who are trafficked in commercial sex. Download here. 

Resources Identifying CSEY 

Commercial sexual exploitation identification tool (CSE-IT)

WestCoast's Commercial Sexual Exploitation-Identification Tool  is designed to improve early identification of children who are commercially sexually exploited. The CSE-IT is appropriate for use by any provider serving youth, including child welfare workers, probation officers, mental health clinicians, and first responders. This tool is prominently used by child welfare professionals throughout Texas and largely promoted by our state partners at Office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and Texas Juvenile Justice Department

Download the screening tool through WestCoast's website. 

STate and National Laws  


Texas senate Bill 20

Passed in 2019, this bill aims to boost protections for human trafficking survivors by increasing access to nondisclosure orders that can keep criminal records sealed. It allows survivors of human trafficking  to clear their records and increases penalties for individuals involved in online human trafficking. Learn more.

National Laws 

the frederick douglas trafficking prevention and reauthorization act of 2018: 115th Congress

HR 2200: This bill includes authorizing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award grants to local educational agencies to establish programs to educate children on the dangers of human trafficking, implementing provisions to ensure that government spending is not used to support human trafficking, and authorizing funding for the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Learn more. 

State and National reports

roadmap for texas communities to address child sex trafficking

This roadmap was developed in close collaboration between Meadows Mental Health Policy Instititue and the The Office of the Texas Governors Child Sex Trafficking Team (CSTT), with input from a variety of Child Sex Trafficking (CST) experts and local service providers. The purpose of this document is to provide communities with information, research, emerging practices, models, lessons learned, and resources to end CST. Intended audiences include but are not limited to leaders in law enforcement; schools; community and religious organizations; health care professionals; judges; and state, municipal, and county agencies. Download here.