January | February 2017

How OJJDP Is Combating the Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Children

The commercial sexual exploitation of children and child sex trafficking are serious problems in the United States. Even though estimates of the number of victimized or at-risk children vary greatly, even one trafficked child is one too many. Each January, during National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, communities across our nation renew their efforts to end trafficking, to bring those who do harm to justice, to offer services to survivors, and to help them heal.

OJJDP has a longstanding commitment to combating the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. Established in 1998, OJJDP’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force program helps state and local law enforcement agencies develop effective responses to technology-facilitated crimes against children. The program encompasses investigative and forensic components, training and technical assistance, victim services, and community education through public awareness and prevention programs. The task forces are a critical component of the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction.

Following are a few examples of other OJJDP-funded initiatives to address the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children:

  • Since 1984, OJJDP has supported the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which serves as an information clearinghouse and resource for law enforcement agencies, schools, families, and communities working to locate missing children. The center also raises public awareness about ways to prevent child abduction as well as child sexual abuse and exploitation. 
  • Established in 2014 by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges in partnership with OJJDP and Rights4Girls, the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Child Sex Trafficking aims to instill a stronger sense of judges’ courtroom and community roles to help prevent and end domestic child sex trafficking. The Institute provides judges with training opportunities to expand their knowledge of trafficking risk factors, victim identification, and effective intervention strategies.
  • The OJJDP-funded AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) Program increases the nation’s capacity to respond to incidents of endangered, missing, and abducted children. The program provides TTA to enhance the national AMBER Alert network; to improve law enforcement response to missing, endangered, and abducted children; to strengthen child alert systems along the nation’s borders to better protect American children abducted to or through foreign countries; and to enhance public participation in the recovery of missing, endangered, and abducted children.
  • OJJDP’s National Training and Technical Assistance Center provides easy access to information about upcoming training opportunities as well as access to archived training events on topics related to the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children.
  • The Office’s Mentoring for Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Domestic Sex Trafficking initiative is offering training and technical assistance to enhance the mentoring capacity of six organizations that serve youth who have been exploited and to increase the availability of direct services to survivors.

More information about these and other OJJDP initiatives to address the commercial sexual exploitation of children—including research, training and technical assistance, and publications—is available on the Office’s website. The website also offers a comprehensive listing of services for trafficking victims.


OJJDP’s online Model Programs Guide provides information about evidence-based programs to help children exposed to violence and victimization. The guide also includes reviews of research literature on the commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of children.