Law Enforcement Agency - Child Sex Trafficking (LEA-CST)

Trends & New Directions in the Law Enforcement Response to Sex Trafficking of Minors

There has been a growing consensus that law enforcement needs to change its traditional approach to child sex trafficking (CST) from a predominately delinquent perspective to a more victim-centered approach.  This study will evaluate the degree to which law enforcement has been changing practices by replicating an earlier national study on police investigations of CST. The 2005 National Juvenile Prostitution Study (N-JPS) looked at the law enforcement handling of a nationally representative sample of cases involving juvenile victims of commercial sexual exploitation, obtaining details from investigators about arrests, detention, charges, referrals and police investigations. The new study will gather information from a similarly designed sample of police investigations to analyze trends over a 15-year period for these cases, and to identify the degree to which law enforcement is responding to involved youth as victims. It will also gather information from investigators about challenges and barriers to addressing these cases in a way that provides youth victims with needed services. This data will be supplemented with key informant interviews with community agencies who work with CST victims in a sub-sample of areas where police response has been particularly successful in implementing a victim-centered approach.