DCFS Report Shows 77% Increase In Juvenile Human Trafficking Victims
A state Department of Children and Family Services report finds there has been a 77% increase in the amount of juvenile human trafficking victims aged 12 or less. Juveniles account for over 52% of the 681 identified victims in 2017.
Author of the report Walter Fahr says part of the increase has to do with better identification methods.
"There's been a lot more focus on human trafficking at both the adult and juvenile level. And this is being reflected on people reporting this."
The report found that 72 of the human trafficking victims identified in 2017 were 12 and younger, an astounding 260-percent increase over 2016. Fahr says they are vulnerable and are easily coerced back to the trafficking lifestyle.
"They runaway, go back and get involved with a trafficker and then get reengaged with a service provider once again later on. It's a roller coaster ride about engaging, especially the juveniles."
Once a victim is identified, Fahr says they need more agencies to provide services that will help these young kids away from their trafficker.
"Certainly specialized mental health counseling. And a lot of these kids have been exposed to both health issues and substance abuse related issues."
For juveniles, Caddo and Orleans Parishes were the most identified as the parishes of origin, while East Baton Rouge Parish was the most mentioned for adult victims.