ACS launches new campaign to help professionals identify child trafficking

The Administration for Children’s Services has launched a new campaign to help professionals in the child welfare system identify signs of child trafficking in the city. 
The ACS is providing a new toolkit to professionals.
“What we are talking about in New York City is domestic sex trafficking. So, it’s not about youth who come from other countries, but children who are trafficked in their own neighborhoods,” says Selina Higgins, of the Officer of Child Trafficking Prevention.

Inside the toolkit is material for workers within the agency and its contract agencies. The goal is to help them identify red flags that indicate a child may be a victim of trafficking.
“A lot of youth stop attending school and it’s not about not going to school but where are they when they should be in school?” says Child Protective specialist Belinda Texeira. “We have a lot of youth who have older boyfriends, girlfriends, best friends. And that’s something that must be looked at very carefully.”

Part of the toolkit is a booklet which helps professionals in the child welfare system identify signs of child trafficking and all the information can be carried with them at all times in the field. It is information which professionals say is more than helpful in many different situations.
“I’ve come across youth in the past that may have had risk factors of trafficking and I may have missed that. So now with this toolkit, I can ensure that I have those skills and I won’t miss as many youths as I did before,” says Child Protective Supervisor Diana Roberts.
It also includes available resources to survivors who are looking for ways to move on.
Representatives from ACS say they hope to get these toolkits to other city agencies that work with children or at-risk youth.