National Network for Youth
With this January marking the second National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the National Network for Youth (NN4Y) has continually made its mission to spur action for more effective approaches to addressing youth human trafficking. This month has aided in raising awareness about modern slavery and trafficking and educating individuals and organization alike on how they can prevent this crime.
Human trafficking is a crime in which force, fraud or coercion is used to compel a person to perform labor, services or commercial sex. Approximately 800,000 youth and young adults In the United States who experience homelessness in a year may also be victims of sex or labor trafficking.
Earlier this month, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) pressed William Barr, President Trump’s pick for attorney general, about combating human trafficking during his confirmation hearing. Sen. Ernst cited concerns with human trafficking being “tied with arms dealing as the second-largest criminal industry in the world” and the crime generating $32 billion each year. The Iowan senator also stressed the average age of a U.S. citizen human trafficking victim is in between 12 and 14-years-old.
While human trafficking briefly took center stage at the confirmation hearing and with President Trump signing the reauthorization of Trafficking Victim Protection Act into law, the National Network for Youth believes policymakers can continue to strategically take action against human trafficking.
NN4Y fully stands behind law enforcement prosecuting human trafficking perpetrators. However, law enforcement needs to ensure that they do not further traumatize young people through arrests and threats of prosecution in the pursuit of gaining cooperation and witnesses.
To significantly curb the trafficking of young people in America, policymakers need to pass the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act and increase investments in services and housing for young people so that their trafficking experiences can be prevented and so that young survivors of human trafficking can be cared for appropriately.
This March, in partnership with the McCain Institute, the National Network for Youth will launch the inaugural Certificate of Human Trafficking (CHT). This Certificate is designed for direct service providers working at runaway and homeless youth programs. After participating in the program training and successfully completing post-tests on the material presented, providers will earn a Certificate indicating that they have successfully completed the program.