ADOPT Outreach Project for Vulnerable Adolescents & Survivors of Human Trafficking with Disabilities
– Andrea Haidar, New Sector Alliance Fellow with IOFA and ADOPT
Adolescents with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to labor and sexual trafficking due to a complex set of factors, including workplace discrimination, exclusion from community resources, and social marginalization. Traffickers may target adolescents with disabilities because of their physical, cognitive, or emotional impairment. Alternatively, adolescents may develop a disability from a trafficking experience.
From educational planning to seeking employment, adolescents with disabilities encounter unique challenges to safely achieving self-sufficiency. There are resources available to help adolescents with disabilities transition into adulthood, such as vocational rehabilitation services. However, these services remain underutilized by people with disabilities—particularly minorities, immigrants, and refugees.
Cultural and linguistic barriers prevent these minority groups from learning about and accessing vocational rehabilitation services. Meanwhile, social service agencies may not have the capacity to conduct outreach and provide culturally- and linguistically-appropriate services for these communities.
The International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA) has partnered with the Asians with Disabilities Outreach Project Think-Tank (ADOPT) to expand accessibility of disabilities services for vulnerable adolescents and survivors of human trafficking. The partnership has three primary objectives:
1) Connect member agencies of the Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force with vocational rehabilitation service providers to increase coordination between both parties,
2) Create and distribute accessible information about multicultural disabilities services,
3) Increase visibility of the intersections between trafficking and disabilities issues.
So far, the project has achieved the following outputs and outcomes:
Outreach regarding disabilities services and multicultural supports to 32 agencies within the Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force
Recruitment efforts to incorporate disabilities-centered organizations within the Cook Country Human Trafficking Task Force
Resources available on IOFA website: Multicultural Vocational Rehabilitation Fact Sheet, Referral Index for MVRP providers, Listing of Multicultural Liaisons, Annotated Disabilities Resource Guide for Practitioners
Literature review regarding intersection of disability and human trafficking, on IOFA website
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