Covenant House New Jersey announced today that a new screening tool is changing the way victims of human trafficking are being provided life-changing services at its programs throughout New Jersey.
The new screening tool, Quick Youth Indicators for Trafficking (QYIT), allows social service providers to quickly detect and serve homeless young adults who have been victims of labor and/or sex trafficking.
“This is a game-changer for us, and will be for our fellow service providers across the country as well,” said Covenant House New Jersey Executive Director Jim White. “Identifying trafficking victims is a challenging process, due to many factors, including the extreme trauma victims face and the lack of trust. By identifying early, it allows us to direct the proper intervention strategies right away. That immediate care can make a significant difference in the healing process for the inhuman terror these young people have experienced.
“QYIT is a proven tool that works, and it is helping us save lives. I’m excited to share it with our fellow service providers,” said White.
“Simply put, this tool is helping us reach more trafficking victims and provide more life-saving services in timelier fashion, which is absolutely crucial,” said Julia Einbond, Director of Research and Learning at Covenant House New Jersey. “It has already led us to more targeted trauma treatment, legal, and wraparound services specific to trafficking survivors’ needs. The impact of early identification is already being realized through improved housing outcomes for homeless, trafficked young adults.”
QYIT was implemented as part of a groundbreaking study conducted by Covenant House New Jersey, Mount Sinai Hospital researchers, and HEAL Trafficking that shed new light on the growing crisis of human trafficking among youth experiencing homelessness in New Jersey.
“This is the first screening tool that is validated for the recognition of labor and sex trafficking. QYIT is a success largely born of the data collection efforts of the dedicated staff of Covenant House New Jersey and the young people at CHNJ who shared their stories. I’m honored to be a part of this important service to homeless young people across the US,” said Dr. Makini Chisolm-Straker, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Mount Sinai. The study’s findings were recently published in the peer-review journal, Children and Youth Services Review.
“The anti-human trafficking field has been waiting for this, a validated, brief screening tool, for both labor and sex trafficking. Its publication expands the availability of this groundbreaking tool to practitioners beyond the borders of New Jersey, to the world,” said Dr. Hanni Stoklosa, Executive Director of HEAL Trafficking.
“Every day and night all across New Jersey, our street outreach workers and crisis care counselors fight for the lives of homeless kids and witness firsthand the dangers homeless kids face on the streets,” said White. “We have learned that vulnerable homeless youth are particularly attractive to the labor and sex traffickers who prey on homeless kids’ vulnerability to exploit them.”
The screening tool can be accessed on the HEAL website here.