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Article

Identifying Sexual and Labor Exploitation among Sheltered Youth Experiencing Homelessness: A Comparison of Screening Methods

1
Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA
2
Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, TX 77030, USA
3
Cizik School of Nursing, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX 77030, USA
4
McGovern Medical School, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX 77030, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(3), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16030363
Received: 5 January 2019 / Revised: 21 January 2019 / Accepted: 24 January 2019 / Published: 28 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teenage Reproductive Health)
Human trafficking is a significant and growing public health concern. Subgroups of adolescents and young adults are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking, especially youth who are unstably housed or homeless. While youth experiencing trafficking come into contact with the healthcare system, they are often not identified during routine assessment due to lack of specific inquiry and low disclosure. Therefore, we utilized a mixed-methods study design to assess the differences in the identification of human trafficking among youth experiencing homelessness (n = 129) between a standard psychosocial assessment tool and a human trafficking specific assessment tool. Findings indicate that the tool developed to specifically assess for human trafficking was more likely to identify youth experiencing sexual and labor exploitation, as well as the risk factors for human trafficking. Secondly, youth reported that mistrust of the system, fear of involving the police if reported, not wanting to interact with the mental healthcare system, and stigma are barriers to disclosing human trafficking. In conclusion, healthcare providers caring for youth experiencing homelessness should adopt improved screening tools for human trafficking to reduce the risk of missed opportunities for prevention and treatment among this high-risk population of youth. View Full-Text
Keywords: Human trafficking; youth homelessness; sexual exploitation; labor exploitation; screening tool Human trafficking; youth homelessness; sexual exploitation; labor exploitation; screening tool
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mostajabian, S.; Santa Maria, D.; Wiemann, C.; Newlin, E.; Bocchini, C. Identifying Sexual and Labor Exploitation among Sheltered Youth Experiencing Homelessness: A Comparison of Screening Methods. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 363. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16030363

AMA Style

Mostajabian S, Santa Maria D, Wiemann C, Newlin E, Bocchini C. Identifying Sexual and Labor Exploitation among Sheltered Youth Experiencing Homelessness: A Comparison of Screening Methods. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019; 16(3):363. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16030363

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mostajabian, Salina, Diane Santa Maria, Constance Wiemann, Elizabeth Newlin, and Claire Bocchini. 2019. "Identifying Sexual and Labor Exploitation among Sheltered Youth Experiencing Homelessness: A Comparison of Screening Methods" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16, no. 3: 363. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16030363

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