Our Mission

IOFA works to eliminate human trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable adolescents worldwide by developing innovative programs and solutions to protect youth. 

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We’ve launched our new website!

Like the young people we serve, our organization has seen a lot in fifteen years. With this site, we hope to share the lessons we've learned and the accomplishments we've made to inspire others who share our mission. Let this be your source for research, technical assistance and innovation to address critical and emerging issues affecting young people around the world.

Adolescents & the Border Crisis Pt. 4: Push-Pull Factors and Child Migration

News surrounding the crisis at the border has shed light on the dramatic increase of immigrants fleeing their countries of origin. The number of unaccompanied minors has grown from 6,800 between 2004 and 2011 to 13,000 in 2012, and 24,000 in 2013. This year, that number will reach almost 90,000. According to these estimates, the number of unaccompanied young people coming to the United States has increased by more than a 1000 percent in ten years. However, even with the dramatic increase, the unaccompanied minors who have fled their countries of origin only account for 0.15 percent of the foreign population and 0.4 percent of the population of immigrants fleeing from Central America.

Adolescents & the Border Crisis, Pt. 3:  The Impact of Border Migration on U.S. Youth Policy

Placement with relatives in America does not end the child’s vulnerability to trafficking (Lind, 2014).  With the dramatic rise in UAC, there has been increased pressure to get UACs out of shelters and into placement with family members as quickly as possible.  The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has stated that they do a home study for only certain categories of UAC, as well as follow up visits for at-risk children (ORR, 2013). This raises concern that a number of placements are not being adequately screened for safety.  A similar practice in the 1990s resulted in Chinese immigrants being released to people officials believed were relatives, but turned out to be part of smuggling networks. The smugglers would then extort the immigrants and their families (Lind, 2014).  Although it is still too soon to know if the same thing is happening to these UACs, from 2008-2010, 95% of confirmed labor trafficking survivors in the U.S were foreign-born (Banks & Kyckelhahn, 2011).

Adolescents & the Border Crisis, Pt. 2: Unaccompanied Minors and the Deferred Action for Childhood

Unaccompanied alien children (UACs) are currently the center of much debate across the nation.  President Obama has urged Congress to approve $3.7 billion in emergency funds to address the influx of UACs, emphasizing the need to speed up the deportation process (Folye, 2014).  However, Congress remains divided on how to address the situation.  The crux of the debate centers around two existing policies.  The first is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an executive order from the Obama administration that was signed in June 2012. DACA allows undocumented minors deferred deportation if they arrived before 2007 and if they meet specific criteria.  Deferment can be revoked at any time, and it does not provide lawful immigration status, a green card, or citizenship.  Instead, deferment indicates that the Department of Human Services (DHS) does not consider the child a danger to national security or public safety. 

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