Department for Community Based Services

Standards of Practice Online Manual

2.15.9 Investigations of Human Trafficking

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Department for Community Based Services
Division of Protection and Permanency
Standards of Practice Online Manual
Chapter 2-Child Protective Services (CPS) Intake and Investigation
2.15.9 Investigations of Human Trafficking

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Legal Authority/Introduction



Human trafficking is any alleged criminal activity whereby one (1) or more children are subjected to engage in forced labor or services or commercial sexual activity regardless of whether or not force, fraud, or coercion is used.


The SSW:

  1. Initiates the report within twenty four (24) hours of receipt unless there are high risk factors that need to be addressed sooner;
  2. Investigates the report jointly with law enforcement:
    1. Interviews the perpetrator, only with law enforcement; and
    2. Shares information throughout the investigation.
  3. Conducts forensic interviews of child victims at the Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) in joint cooperation with law enforcement (KRS 620.040(6)) unless it can be confidently ruled out that the trafficking incident did not occur;
  4. Conducts interviews relevant to the investigation;
  5. Assesses the child’s safety throughout the investigation;
  6. Investigates whether or not the trafficking activities occurred in other states or countries, or whether or not the victim resided in other states or countries;
  7. Requests consultation with the Child Protection Branch Protective Services Branch (502-564-2136 or DCBSChildProtection@ky.govas needed for guidance during the investigation;
  8. Makes reasonable efforts to keep child(ren) with their parents, or reunite them with their parents;
  9. Makes appropriate service referrals for victims and their family members;
  10. Consults with the local multidisciplinary team (MDT) and presents investigation to the team, KRS 620.040(7)(d);
  11. Includes an assessment of the individual who is responsible for the human trafficking, even if the individual is a non-caretaker;
  12. Initiates court activity, as necessary, to ensure the child’s safety;
  13. Completes a familial risk assessment as part of the investigation;
  14. Makes a finding based on the risk assessment and family’s need for services; and 
  15. Mails the appropriate findings letters and appeals forms to caretaker perpetrators per SOP 2.13 Notification of Finding and Case Disposition.

Contingencies and Clarifications

When appropriate, the SSW should complete the following tasks: 

  1. Notify the child’s attorney that the child may be a victim of human trafficking (status offender only);
  2. Contact other states to request courtesy interviews for identified individuals who may have information relevant to the investigation;
  3. Conduct forensic interviews of child victims at the Children's Advocacy Center in joint cooperation with law enforcement (KRS 620.040(6));
  4. Ensure findings for non-caretaker perpetrators are "human trafficking not confirmed" or "human trafficking confirmed";
  5. Ensure findings for caretaker perpetrators are "substantiated," unsubstantiated," or "services needed"; and 
  6. Add a subprogram of sexual abuse for all caretaker perpetrators, if appropriate.
  7. Inform the parent/guardian verbally or in writing on agency letterhead by drafting a brief letter regarding the finding. Contents of the letter should be decided on a case by case basis.

Related Resources

  • Information on services for human trafficking victims can be accessed through:
    • National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-373-7888); and
    • National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (800-843-5678).
  • When interviewing non-English speaking individuals, refer to SOP 1.14 Limited English Proficiency for assistance. 


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