Minnesota uses a No Wrong Door model to respond to sexual exploitation of youth and to provide services to victims. This model includes Safe Harbor regional navigators, specialized service providers, and specialized shelter and housing providers who collaborate to provide a network of services for sexually exploited youth. The No Wrong Door model also involves professionals and community members through training, outreach and protocol development.
Visit the Minnesota Department of Health website for a full list of regional navigators, specialized shelter and housing options, and supportive service locations. Contact providers directly to learn more about their programs and to access services.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the administration of Safe Harbor specialized shelter, and housing programs.
Human trafficking includes sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Learn more about Minnesota’s child welfare system response to all forms of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Minnesota’s Best Practice Response to Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth. Review DHS Bulletin 22-68-15 for a quick reference to using the best practice guide. Guidance for county and tribal child welfare agencies is based on related federal laws and policy guidance. Requirements and resources for agencies are summarized in Administration for Children and Families Information Memorandum ACF-IM-22-01.
Sex trafficking and sexual exploitation
Mandated reporters must report all known or suspected sex trafficking of children to local child protection agencies, regardless of relationship to alleged offenders. See Resource Guide for Mandated Reporters of Child Maltreatment Concerns for more information. The Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy offers online training for mandated reporters, including guidance on when and how to report sex trafficking and sexual exploitation, as well as other child maltreatment concerns.
Intake staff, screeners and supervisors can use the Child protection screening for sex trafficking and exploitation flowchart to help screen and assign reports of potential trafficking or exploitation.
All screened-in reports of sex trafficking must be investigated by child protection, regardless of alleged offender relationship. Effective July 1, 2024, reports of non-caregiver sex trafficking will be assessed using a non-caregiver sex trafficking response. Other reports will continue to be investigated. More detailed guidance and updated training will be available prior to implementation.
Once a case is accepted for an investigation, use this handout for guidance on completing the sex trafficking investigation.
The focus of the child welfare system response to children and youth who experience human trafficking and sexual exploitation is securing safety and access to services. Service planning for trafficked or exploited youth can be complex and may include coordination with community partners, including advocates or Safe Harbor. Service planning for trafficked or exploited youth provides an overview to guide case workers.
This form can be used by the child welfare and child protection case workers to help access safety and make a safety plan with the youth and their family, caregivers and other supports.
Labor trafficking is a form of human trafficking that happens to children and adults in Minnesota
Responding to foreign national children experiencing sex trafficking or labor trafficking.
Required training for child welfare staff
In compliance with the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, Minnesota Statutes, section 260E.36, subdivision 1a, requires all staff with child protection duties under Minn. Stat. 260C or 260E, to complete training on sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. This training includes identification, assessment and comprehensive service delivery for children, youth and families.
Read more about the requirement and register for training through the Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy New Human Trafficking Training Requirement | Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy (mnchildwelfaretraining.com)
For more information on the child welfare system response to sex trafficking, sexual exploitation and labor trafficking, contact email@example.com.
Child welfare response when youth go missing from care
Youth who go missing from out-of-home placement can be vulnerable to human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Best practice for responding to youth who run away from foster care: A guide for county and tribal child welfare agencies provides an overview of the required response when a youth goes missing from care, including reporting and coordination with law enforcement and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. See the caseworker checklist on page 41 of Minnesota’s Best Practice Response to Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth: A guide for county and tribal child welfare agencies.
Child protection social workers must meet with youth within 24 hours after they are found to make sure they are safe, assess needs, and screen for trafficking and exploitation. The Runaway Debriefing Form should be used to guide and document this conversation and uploaded in SSIS. Any possible sex trafficking or exploitation that occurred while the youth was missing from care must also be immediately documented on the SEY/STY/At Risk screen in SSIS.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NEMEC) NCMEC is a national clearinghouse and resource center for missing and exploited children. To report a child missing or be connected to NCMEC’s resources call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678). Child welfare professionals can also use the web-reporting form https://www.missingkids.org/theissues/missingfromcare. NCMEC provides case management, missing child posters, specialized analytical assistance for law enforcement, resources and support for families, and recovery planning support for professionals. Reports of online exploitation of a child or child sexual abuse material can be made at https://report.cybertip.org/. Visit http://www.missingkids.org for specialized training requests, resource for families and professionals, and to request assistance.
See Additional Resources for more links to helpful resources for reporting, coordination and service referrals when a youth is missing or recovered.
Visit the webpage for Minnesota's implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). Additional resources and research to guide residential providers are also available on the Aspire MN website.
FFPSA requires Minnesota to create specialized residential settings for youth who were, or at risk of becoming, victims of sex trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation. To do this, DHS collaborated with multiple partners, including service providers; county and tribal child welfare staff; individuals with lived experiences; and other government officials to develop requirements and best practice for specialized residential settings. This includes creation of standards and a state definition of what it means for children or youth to be at risk of sex trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation for placement in specialized residential settings.
To learn more about the statutory requirements for license certification or to apply to become a certified program specialized in serving sex trafficked, commercially sexually exploited or at risk youth, see DHS Licensing. Use Licensing Information Lookup to find up-to-date information on certified settings. For more information pertaining to QRTP or specialized settings certifications, contact FFPSA.Setting.Certification.DHS@state.mn.us
Human trafficking prevention education for youth at risk of trafficking is critical in providing effective services in residential settings approved to serve this population. A wide array of curricula is available across the United States. Residential programs seeking certification to serve trafficked, exploited or at-risk youth may utilize the prevention curriculum most appropriate for the youth they serve. The Minnesota Department of Human Services partnered with Love 146, Inc. to provide access to scholarships for residential program staff to be trained as facilitators of Not a Number Human Trafficking prevention education groups for youth. Find more information at Not a #Number.
For information or questions related to specialized settings for commercially sexually exploited, sex trafficked or at-risk youth, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Child welfare agencies can learn to identify youth victims and youth at risk of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, as well as placement in specialized residential settings in Minnesota’s Best Practice Response to Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth: A guide for county and tribal child welfare agencies (p. 30-43). To identify youth, child welfare staff must use Minnesota’s new definition of “youth at risk of sex trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation,” which is explained in this brief identification guide (DHS-7641C).
The Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy hosts webinars and published guidance to understand and implement required FFPSA changes.
All direct contact staff working in certified residential settings for ST/CSE/At Risk youth are required to take a commissioner-approved training, which is available here. The training consists of five modules and takes less than four hours to complete. See the training website for more information about timelines and details for completion.
Required child welfare trainings
All staff with child protection duties under Minnesota law are required to complete training on human trafficking and sexual exploitation. [Minn. Stat. section 260E.36] This training is offered through the Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy and focuses on identification of trafficking and exploitation, investigation of reports sex trafficking, and coordinated service delivery. For more information and to register, visit https://mnchildwelfaretraining.com/
Safe Harbor and StreetWorks Trainings
The department provided Safe Harbor grant funds to train outreach workers on identifying and working with homeless youth who may have been sexually exploited. More information about the StreetWorks Toolkit Training can be found on the StreetWorks website. Additionally, in 2016/2017 StreetWorks developed a series of online training videos that can be located in their Archives.
Online webinars and trainings are available through the department, the Minnesota Department of Health, and Safe Harbor regional navigators. For training offered through the Minnesota Department of Health, see https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/safeharbor/, or contact the Safe Harbor training coordinator at email@example.com.
Trainings and workshops are also offered through local Safe Harbor Regional Navigators and service providers. For a complete list of Safe Harbor Regional Navigators visit Safe Harbor Regional Navigators - MN Dept. of Health (state.mn.us)
More information about the Safe Harbor Law and No Wrong Door model can be found on the Department of Human Services’ Safe Harbor Fact sheet DHS-7641A (PDF).
Learn more about how the child welfare responses were created and how they are implemented in Minnesota:
Minnesota Safe Harbor resources
Minnesota Department of Health Safe Harbor web page.
Human trafficking information and collaboration in Minnesota
Responses for American Indian Children and Families
National reports and resources about responses to child trafficking and exploitation