Jumping Hurdles: Navigating Engagement with Sex Trafficked, Homeless Youth and Young Adults

Melissa Brockie & Holly Yost | September 22 | 11:30 AM -12:30 PM | Room 2592

Engaging homeless youth and young adults that have been sex trafficked has challenges, barriers, and bravado! This presentation will share the experiences of a program director and therapist on developing strategies to engage homeless, trafficked youth. Victims of trafficking learn to live by rules of their trafficker, displaying distance and lack of trust with service providers. Homeless youth and young adults are often system involved, lack support systems, and have an increased vulnerability. These experiences alone create obstacles for providers to build rapport with homeless youth coupled with the victim’s trauma, impacted at times by the present trafficker, which create challenges for consistent services. Attendees will learn engagement strategies for both identifying victims and offering housing and comprehensive services, including therapy. Strategies will include leveraging basic needs while building an individual’s autonomy, modifying traditional homeless outreach programs, and increasing minor victim identification. Presenters will share the shifts in programming to meet individualized needs, while utilizing community based services such as housing and legal interventions. Lastly, employee burn out impacts the consistency of care and rapport with clients. Employee turn around and gaps in engagement can impact a victim’s decision to stay engaged with an agency. The presenters will share how to celebrate in a client’s steps towards stability, build a support network of professionals, and establish self-care within a team.
Presentation Objectives:

·       Identify the barriers around engaging homeless, trafficked youth

·       Discuss tools to increase the participation of victims

·       Present ways to tailor programming to improve outcomes and self-care for service providers

About the Presenters