In 2013, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) awareded RTI International a five-year research grant to address gaps in knowledge about the number and characteristics of trafficked minors in order to 1) support effective strategies to prevent trafficking, 2) provide services to victims, and 3) prosecute perpetrators. RTI, in partnership with IOFA and Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, seeks to examine unique statewide policy and practice innovations in the state of Illinois’ systems of law enforcement and child welfare. Analysis methods will include logistic regression, propensity score matching, and latent class modeling, enriched by qualitative analysis of data provided by the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS). The study’s main research questions are:

  1. What is the number of minor victims of sex and labor trafficking identified in the State of Illinois by law enforcement and among current wards of the child welfare system?
  2. What are the characteristics of trafficked minors and how do they differ from minors not identified as trafficked?
  3. How can law enforcement and child welfare agencies in Illinois and elsewhere improve identification of minor victim trafficking?

IOFA’s role in the study is to collect and analyze qualitative data from key informant interviews and focus groups with front-line DCFS staff and/or service providers. Through qualitative analysis, IOFA will attempt to address question 3:  how can systems improve identification. The focus of this implementation study will be on systemic and practice factors that affect the degree to which potentially trafficked minors are identified, reported, assessed for confirmation of trafficking and managed within the system. The study will yield statewide data on minor victim trafficking that can be used by practitioners, policymakers, and researchers to support empirically informed recommendations for service development, program planning, and policymaking at the federal, state, and local levels.

For more information on this study, please contact Moizza Khan, [email protected].

Past Projects

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