Screening tools implemented in clinical settings can help improve the recognition of individuals experiencing or at risk for child labor and sex trafficking. We have included several screening tools for your consideration.
- The Quick Youth Indicators for Trafficking is a 4-item screen developed for young adults receiving services at homeless shelters.
- The 6-item Short Screen for Child Sex Trafficking (SSCST), was designed for a busy healthcare setting and has been evaluated with adolescents (11-17 years) in emergency departments, teen clinics and child advocacy centers.
- It is important to note that a positive screen identifies adolescents with elevated risk factors, but does NOT confirm that a youth has been trafficked. The purpose of screening is to identify trafficked persons and those at risk, as both groups need the option of services.
- This 8-item Adult Human Trafficking Screening Tool, screens for both labor and sex trafficking of adults, and is based on questions from screens of high-risk populations.
There is very limited information on appropriate screening questions for children under 11 years seeking healthcare and special populations such as American Indian/Alaskan Native youth and immigrant/refugee patients. Based on your medical practice and patient population, screening may involve asking general questions about known risk factors for child labor and sex trafficking and exploitation.
Screening for exploitation can only be effective when embedded within a trauma-informed, culturally appropriate context, which facilitates trust and openness. Building rapport prior to screening, using normalizing language and a nonjudgmental, empathic approach increases the likelihood that patients and caregivers will feel comfortable enough to share their concerns and be open to resources.
It may also be helpful to offer families brief universal education and resources regarding violence, trauma or worker rights. Patients or caregivers may want help but may also feel reluctant to discuss their situation with a healthcare professional. This approach has been advocated for use with adults experiencing intimate partner violence and reproductive coercion.
American Academy of Pediatrics