psychological resilience to overcome their traumatic conflict experiences. 125 Research has
recognized a strong correlation between prior trauma and gang involvement. 126 To refuse to
address this trauma leaves these children in the same, or conceivably worse, place they were in
when they originally joined the gang and therefore more likely to continue in gang involvement.
The National Child Trauma Stress Network advocates using Trauma and Grief Component
Therapy (“TGCT”) for adolescents, particularly to address the trauma of community violence. 127
Studies link TGCT with decreased Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and improved school
performance. 128 Trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy (“TF-CBT”) is also a well-validated
treatment available to trafficking victims. 129
The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (the “IDJJ”) provides one example of
preventing juvenile recidivism. The IDJJ has implemented a new approach to reintegrating
detained juveniles into their communities to prevent youth from re-entering detention for merely
violating a probation condition and not due to a new delinquency adjudication. 130 Rather than
being monitored by traditional probation officers, members of the pilot program are under the
supervision of aftercare specialists who perform the essential functions of probation officers but
have smaller caseloads to allow for more attention per case. 131 Rather than merely responding to
the surface problem of a youth’s noncompliance with probation conditions, they will also
investigate and address the underlying reasons for the noncompliance. 132 Confidence in a minor’s
own coping skills is a significant protective factor that negatively affects gang affiliation. 133 A
similar tactic may be beneficial to getting youths to leave gangs and address the underlying risk
factors, such as the immature reasoning capacity of youth and untreated trauma, which would
continue to put them at risk of exploitation.
Whether juvenile gang members are victims of labor trafficking is a fact-intensive
analysis that must involve consideration of the child’s behavior and circumstance in the context
of his or her cognitive development and exposure to community violence. It is, as the United
Kingdom Court of Appeal determined, a question that must be asked of each child and a
determination made individually. This is especially so considering the U.S. Supreme Court case
law that has continued to hold that a juvenile’s developmental capacity for criminal culpability is
determined by analyzing that development and not by arbitrary age cut-offs. These children bear
strong resemblances to domestic sex trafficking victims and also to international child soldiers.
Drawing from the research on these populations, it is not hard to imagine that at least some young
gang members are labor trafficking victims. Early intervention can interrupt the cycle of
125 See Kerig et al, supra note 83, at 785–87.
126 Id. at 779; Carlos A. Cuevas et al., Children’s Exposure to Violence and the Intersection Between Delinquency and Victimization,
JUVENILE JUSTICE BULLETIN 7 (Oct. 7, 2013), http://www.ojjdp.gov/pubs/240555.pdf (recognizing strong link between high levels of
victimization and high levels of delinquency).
127 Christopher Layne & Bill Saltzman, TGCT: Trauma and Grief Component Therapy for Adolescents, NAT’L CHILD TRAUMA
STRESS NETWORK, 2 (Aug. 2008), http://www.nctsnet.org/nctsn_assets/pdfs/promising_practices/TGCT_General.pdf.
128 Id. at 6.
129 See Judy Bass et al., Implementing Trauma Focused Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) Among Formerly Trafficked Sexually Exploited
and Sexually Abused Girls in Cambodia: A Feasibility Study, CHILD RECOVERY & REINTEGRATION NETWORK (2011),
130 Executive Summary: 2011 Year-End Assessment of DJJ, JOHN HOWARD ASS’N OF ILL, 17–19 (2011),