Street Gangs and Human Trafficking: An Unknown but Pervasive Epidemic


Isaac Burt, PhD | September 21 | 1:30-2:30 PM

Topic: Law Enforcement, Direct Service | Knowledge Level: Intermediate

Human trafficking is an issue conceptualized by most helping professionals as perpetuated by pimps or brothels. However, Global Centurion (2018) identifies that street gangs are an insidious provider and facilitator of human trafficking and prostitution in the United States. Thus, a problematic issue affecting potentially hundreds nation-wide is largely unrecognized. As street gang initiated human trafficking becomes more increasingly documented through media and advocacy, helping professionals should not only be aware of this invisible client, but also have culturally appropriate interventions and skills to address this population’s mental health needs. Survivors of human trafficking, especially those involved with street gangs are at an increased risk of mental health problems resulting from mental/bodily stress, depression, trauma, and suicidal ideation. The purpose of this presentation is to provide a unique, culturally grounded perspective into the world of street gang human trafficking, while increasing the knowledge base/awareness of professionals who may encounter survivors. The presentation will include an interactive dialogue and a discussion of resources/material specifically designed for survivors.

Presentation Objectives:

·  Discuss the different types of human trafficking found in street gangs and identifying signs.

·  Increase the knowledge base on traditionally underserved populations and strategies that may positively affect survivors.

·  Explore how trafficking and trauma, society, and culture interact and affect this population.

About the Presenter