Assessing Public Health Strategies for Advancing Child Protection: Human Trafficking as a Case Study
21 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2013 Last revised: 8 Feb 2013
Date Written: January 14, 2013
Ensuring the well-being of all children is one of the great challenges of our time. Despite concerted efforts in the United States to protect children, research reveals that millions of children suffer harm each year. Frequently, when policymakers and child advocates speak of “child protection,” they focus primarily on abuse and neglect in the home. Often, child protection does not contemplate violence against children in the community. The inside/outside-the-home divide is somewhat of a false dichotomy, however, as the two realms are interrelated. Children who suffer abuse and neglect in the home are frequently at heightened risk of exploitation outside the home. This symposium essay focuses on the community-based issues of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children, with a view to elucidating the merits of public health approaches to harm against children. Trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children are significant issues in the United States. This essay briefly outlines the current framework for responding to child trafficking. It then discusses what a public health approach could add to antitrafficking efforts. Finally, this essay seeks to draw lessons from a public health approach to child trafficking that might inform child protection strategies more broadly.
Keywords: human trafficking, children, public health, child protection, violence, prevention
JEL Classification: I18, I31, K30, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation