WestCoast study highlights who is most vulnerable to trafficking.

“Making exploitation visible is a first step toward taking action. As a result of universal screening, professionals identified 635 trafficked children. That means 635 opportunities to intervene.”

-Danna Basson, PhD, MPP
Director of Research and Evaluation

Child sex trafficking is hard to see. As a result, most youth are exploited for more than two years before anyone notices. To address this, we developed a screening tool: The Commercial Sexual Exploitation – Identification Tool (CSE-IT, pronounced “see it”).

Our report, Validation of the CSE-IT, based on data from 5,537 youth screened in the pilot, presents new evidence on the effectiveness of universal screening to identify signs of exploitation. Our pilot included youth served by child welfare, juvenile justice, and related systems. We found that 1 in 10 children showed clear signs of exploitation.


The report also describes which youth in the study have the highest rates of trafficking indicators:

1 in 3 African-American girls
1 in 4 transgender youth
1 in 5 girls overall
1 in 5 homeless boys


Based on lessons learned from piloting the tool in 56 agencies around California, we also developed a CSE-IT Implementation Guide. This guide will help agencies establish universal screening protocols to improve early identification. Both reports and the CSE-IT can be found on our website.

Thank you so much for your support. This work would not be possible without you.

Stacey Katz