Integrated Partnerships and Coordinated Wraparound Support: Moving the needle towards effective responses for adolescent victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking in Canadian urban settings
Keywords:Integrated partnerships, wraparound, sexual exploitation, urban settings
The sexual exploitation and trafficking of youth (aged 12-24) have become highly politicized in Canada and many other countries. Existing research suggests that this type of crime has been growing at an alarming rate over the past few decades. Increased awareness, evidence-informed research, and the personal accounts of adolescent sexual exploitation and trafficking survivors have cumulatively led to increased government focus on the need for coordinated and collaborative responses to this issue. Data from various police-based counter-exploitation initiatives across Canada and community-based organizations provide prevention, intervention, and aftercare supports. Yet, despite the sexual exploitation and trafficking of youth having a long history, most government and community prevention, intervention, and aftercare approaches have continually been fragmented and siloed in their response. This article identifies integrated, collaborative, and cross-sector practices that successfully address the needs of sexually exploited and trafficked youth in Canadian urban settings. The findings indicate that best practices include multi-sector response coalitions that involve a multi-disciplinary approach based on several vital partnerships and arrangements. The article concludes with several recommendations of how other urban settings can more effectively respond to the unique and complex needs of adolescent sexual exploitation and trafficking victims.