Human Trafficking and Homeless Families: Interventions and Strategies to Address Human Trafficking in Homeless Shelters


Melissa Brockie, MSW | September 21 | 1:30-2:30 PM

Topic: Research | Knowledge Level: Intermediate, Advanced

Data demonstrates that runaway and homeless youth are at risk for exploitation and human trafficking. Using the Youth Experience Survey from Arizona State University, the New Day Center identified that homeless youth reported a desire for connection back to their family despite being on the street. Thirty-one percent of those youth also reported being victims of sex trafficking and thirty-three percent of labor trafficking. The New Day Center, a family homeless shelter in Arizona, identified their role to utilize the existing programs to conduct awareness, education and connection to services for families impacted by trafficking. This approach not only looked at the minors as potential victims but identified that many adult family members may also be victims. The goal was to build stronger family connections, address trauma and awareness around human trafficking to avoid youth homelessness. The New Day Center developed a strategy to provide education and awareness to parents, while empowering young adults around safety, the risks and how to seek help during their shelter stay. This approach seeks to support parents and children while addressing and linking families impacted (both adult and children) to the proper supports at the agency and in the community. This was the first-time human trafficking screenings and trainings were introduced to the shelter staff. The presenter will share lessons learned for a campus-wide approach. Attendees will understand how the data guided the programs into developing a response, while sharing the strategies, groups and conversational tools to replicate in other shelters.

Presentation Objectives:

·  Explore how the Youth Experience Survey data specific to youth and family connection developed a response within a family shelter.

·  Explain how to utilize domestic violence protocol to develop human trafficking protocol within an agency.

·  Demonstrate how to identify existing programs in your agency or community to introduce human trafficking and coordinate supports for anyone who might identify as a victim.

·  Specify the importance of shelters, including family-based shelter, to be aware of human trafficking and prepared on how to support those that might identify and need support.

About the Presenter