Many runaway and homeless youth are classified as commercial sexually exploited children (CSEC) or are highly at risk of being exploited. Sacramento is recognized as being a vulnerable area to labor and sex trafficking due to the number of ports and airports, the immigration population and economic industries that attract forced labor. It is estimated that Wind Youth Services provides services to nearly 300 youth each year that have experienced some sort of commercial sexual exploitation. Recently, Wind Youth Services was granted the Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Program to be able to meet the individual needs of survivors as they escape a traumatic and life-threatening past.
Our trauma-informed Anti-Trafficking Advocates will provide crisis intervention to transitional age youth (TAY) to assess their need for emergency shelter or housing, food, transportation, and health care. In addition, we will help access vital documents, public assistance benefits, education, and employment resources, when applicable. We will provide support to our survivors when engaging with legal services, accessing victim assistance benefits, family reunification, connections to mental health support, and most importantly, creating a safety plan specific to their long-term needs. It may take time for survivors to overcome the fear of identifying with being trafficked or the stigma and shame that is often associated with human trafficking. However, it is our priority to individualize services that empower each person to break down barriers of co-dependency, victim-blaming, and the misconception that there are little to no resources to support them.