Finding Your Strengths! – A New Approach for Serving CSEC Youth

Youth service providers in all settings encounter young people who have been identified as high risk for, suspected of, or known to have been commercially sexually exploited or sex trafficked. Service providers encounter barriers to successful engagement with these young people for a variety of reasons, such as transience, reluctance, mistrust of systems, etc. While many service providers are aware of youth sex trafficking, dynamics of trafficking itself, and perhaps even some advanced training on the subject, we find providers continue to seek more tangible tools and concrete resources to make meaningful connections. Likewise, impacted youth need and deserve ways to articulate strengths and specific support needs to their adult supports at various points in their healing journey. This presentation will share a set of tools created by the WI Region 3 Anti-Human Trafficking Hub and Rethink Resources. Additionally, the presentation will give context to how the tools were created and ideas for practical applications of the tools using case scenario(s). Building a Strong Team Response to High Risk and Trafficked Youth is a one-page two sided guide providing youth workers with a key framework for engaging high risk and trafficked youth both as an individual and as part of a treatment team. It incorporates the stages of readiness using practical examples to meet youth where they are at in their experience, as well as harm reduction concepts and person-centered language. Finding Your Strengths! is a companion tool intended to be shared with youth. It is a one-page two sided colorful worksheet covering a variety of life areas such as: basic needs, connection to adults, education, healthcare, interests, safety, and resilience. Youth are given options to select answers, plot responses on scales, shade in bars, and write narrative responses. Every part of the worksheet, including age appropriate information about exploitation, was thoughtfully created and revised with youth input.


Rebekah Dettmann, APSW

Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator , Milwaukee Child Advocacy Center


Claudine O'Leary

Independent Consultant , Rethink Resources