Human Trafficking Search recently published a state-by-state report card examining the link between foster care and human trafficking across states to grade states on their foster care and anti-trafficking provisions. Our research found that, despite evidence that the foster care system and trafficking are intricately linked, states have yet to take adequate steps to protect youth in the foster care system. Indeed, graded against our robust criteria, the highest score for any state was 23.5/32 (73%), with an average score of 17/32 (53%). This blog is the fifth of a blog series to summarize the publication and offer recommendations.

Given that most states failed the report card, it is imperative that state and national policy makers do more to protect foster youth from the threat of being trafficked. However, they will likely do nothing without you telling them that this issue is important to you. Here are a few things that you can do to make your voice heard and ensure that foster youth are protected from being trafficked.

Call your State or National Representative

Your voice matters! Call your representative and let them know that you are not ok with the lack of state and national protection for foster care youth from human trafficking. Here is a sample script that you can use to guide you:

“My name is [Your Name] and I live in [city/district]. I am calling to voice my opinion on a recently published state-by-state report card on foster care and human trafficking. [Your State] was graded a [Your State’s Grade] and I am concerned that [Your State] is not doing enough to protect foster youth from being trafficked. Specifically, [Your State] was graded poorly in the [Pick two criteria where your state was ranked especially low]. Youth in foster care are particularly vulnerable to being trafficked for sex and labor, and [Your state/the national government] needs to do more to protect these youth. I urge [name of Representative] to take action to protect foster youth who are being trafficked.”

Click here to find out how to contact your representative.

Contact local press and have them publish a story on your state’s score, or write your own editorial piece

Press is powerful because it not only spreads the word, but also applies pressure for action. Contact your local newspaper and urge them to write a story about your state’s report card. Encourage them to mention the many recommendations for state policy that can create meaningful change for foster youth at risk of being trafficked.

Better yet, write your own editorial piece about your state’s report card and submit it for publication in your local newspaper.

Spread the word

 Grassroots action cannot happen if we don’t spread the word. Talk to your family, neighbors, colleagues, and friends about your state’s report card. In addition, if you have school-aged children, approach their teachers and counselors and have a conversation with them about the links between foster care and human trafficking. Foster youth exist everywhere, and so does human trafficking. The more people who know about it, and know that their state is not adequately protecting foster youth from human trafficking, the faster change happens.

One way to spread the word quickly is to post your state’s report card on social media. Feel free to share it from the Human Trafficking Search Facebook Page or from our webpage.

Foster care and human trafficking are intricately linked, and it takes people like you to create change and ensure foster youth are protected. We hope you make time to take meaningful action.

Read our full report on Foster Care and Human Trafficking Here.