National Center for Youth Law

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From Abused And Neglected To Abused And Exploited
The Intersection of the Child Welfare System with the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Many anti-human trafficking advocates have begun examining why certain children are more vulnerable than others to falling victim to commercial sexual exploitation. One clear pattern quickly emerges—a large proportion of victims of commercial sexual exploitation have been involved with the child welfare system. Many organizations, agencies, and reports have documented the intersection between involvement in the child welfare system and child sex trafficking; between 50 and 98 percent of identified child victims of commercial sexual exploitation have previously been involved with the child welfare system. This seemingly inextricable link was likely the impetus for recent actions on the part of federal, state, and local governments urging child welfare systems to provide prevention and early intervention services for trafficked youth and children who are at risk of being exploited.

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