The Foster Care System and Human Trafficking in 2023: How We Can Help

The Foster Care System and Human Trafficking

[Note to readers: This article contains sensitive content that may be triggering to some individuals. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please seek help and support from a trusted source.]

The Foster Care System and Human Trafficking in 2023: How We Can Help

Human trafficking is a pervasive problem that affects people of all ages and backgrounds, but perhaps one of the most vulnerable populations are children in the foster care system. In 2023, the issue of human trafficking is still prevalent, and we must do more to address this problem. According to a report from Rahab’s Daughters, children in foster care are especially vulnerable to sex trafficking and labor trafficking.

The foster care system is intended to provide a safe and loving environment for children who have been removed from their homes due to neglect or abuse. However, this system is underfunded and understaffed, making it a breeding ground for predators and fraudsters. The most alarming statistic is that more than 100,000 children have gone missing from the foster system since 2000, as federal records show child welfare agencies across the country closed the cases of more than 53,000 foster kids listed as “runaway” and at least another 61,000 children listed as “missing.”

Evidence from the Human Rights Project for Girls shows that at least 60% of children who are sexually exploited come from the foster care system. These children are often exposed to or forced to participate in the production of pornography, which is driven by human trafficking. Factors that make children in the foster care system ideal targets for traffickers include their search for loving familial relationships, connections to income provided to their caregivers, poor oversight and screening of foster families, and underfunded and undervalued social workers who have too many cases to track.

In light of these shocking statistics, it is up to all of us to demand changes that make the foster system the protective haven it should be. There are several ways we can help, including:

  1. Contact your senators and congress person. Demand they hold hearings on the state of the foster care system, and prioritize program reforms in the federal budget.
  2. Do the same thing at the state level.
  3. Demand investigations into the disappearance of children from the foster system.
  4. Take the pledge to #stopthedemand and reduce the demand for human trafficking.

It is crucial that we take action to protect vulnerable children from human trafficking in the foster care system. Even if you are not a foster parent, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a stake in making sure the most vulnerable among us have the love and support they deserve. To learn more about the links between human trafficking and the foster care system, read this report from Child Welfare Information Gateway. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger or needs assistance, call the 24 Hour Emergency Hotline at 1 (833) 463-9329.

Source: Rahab’s Daughters. (2023, February 19). The Missing Children No One is Looking For: How The Foster System Feeds Human Trafficking. Retrieved from

Leave a Reply