Youth who receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) and especially young adults of transition age, should be involved in planning for life after high school as early as possible and no later than age 16. Transition services should stem from the individual youth’s needs and strengths, ensuring that planning takes into account his or her interests, preferences, and desires for the future.
Trafficking of youth is a form of modern slavery within the United States. It is a crime involving the exploitation of U.S. citizen/resident or noncitizen youth for the purpose of compelled labor or a commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, regardless of whether the trafficker or the victim crossed state or international borders. If a person younger than 18 is induced to perform a commercial sex act, it is a crime regardless of whether there is force, fraud, or coercion.1
Members of the youth-serving community are in a unique position to recognize children who may be on the path to becoming victimized and to report suspicions to the appropriate authorities. Once victims are identified, housing, medical and mental health, immigration, food, income, employment authorization, and legal services may be available to assist them. Federal agencies and departments are working collaboratively to raise awareness about human trafficking and the impact on victims, reduce the prevalence of human trafficking, support victims, prosecute offenders, and provide communities with the capacity to respond to the problem.
1 [U.S.C. §7102(8)]
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A review of case files in major U.S. cities indicates that police viewed 40% of youth involved in prostitution as offenders and 60% as victims.