"Kids being locked up for their own exploitation is an injustice cutting to the core of why we do this work, and we had to stop it."

Executive Director
National Center for Youth Law

Jesse Hahnel

"When we work together, and stay focused on the kids, there is a collective energy and passion that drives the work forward and lifts us up when challenges feel insurmountable."

Associate Director, National Center for Youth Law
Collaborative Responses to Commercial Sexual Exploitation Initiative

Allison Newcombe

It wasn’t a placement that saved my life; it wasn’t a program that saved my life; it wasn’t a curriculum that saved my life. It was the people that saved my life."

Advisory Board Member

"Using a service design approach, SuperDeep Studio helped us shift our mindset from 'what information do we have to share' to 'how will someone receive it'."

Director, National Center for Youth Law
Collaborative Responses to Commercial Sexual Exploitation Initiative

Kate Walker Brown




the intention





SuperDeep Studio, a women-led service design firm, was approached by the National Center of Youth Law (NCYL) to develop a toolkit to further their efforts in system reform and advocacy to improve services and support to youth victims of sex trafficking, also known as commercial sexual exploitation (CSE). NCYL has worked for fifty years to improve the lives of disadvantaged children and youth and to elevate their voices, perspectives and needs. Its team focused specifically on the collaborative response to commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth (CRCSE/Y) recently received a grant to add reach to their initiatives.

The grant supported the development of a toolkit, of which there are few in this area of expertise, to document the CRCSE team’s approach to bringing people together, changing perspectives, building trust, transforming systems, and empowering youth and survivors to thrive. Long-term, the intention of the toolkit is to share the learnings and best practices from the team’s work in California with jurisdictions across the state and nationally to expand the reach of the team and support reform efforts around the country.

Every outcome from the toolkit - each successful engagement, conversation and coalition formed would contribute to the collective momentum of advocacy and reform for CRCSE/Y. It was critical that the CRCSE team work with a design team that could enter into their work, their conversations to understand the nuances and inclusive structure of their efforts; to collaborate and engage with an openness to think differently about a very serious subject.
“We had so much information and needed help structuring it and thinking through the most effective way to present it.”
As a women-led team of design innovators specializing in service design, SuperDeep knew immediately this was a project and a client that aligned with the studio’s values to be intentional with open collaboration to deliver impactful, equitable, people-centered solutions to complex challenges.

The conversation with SuperDeep began with a fundamental set of questions, including:
might the toolkit function beyond serving as a reflection on past work only?
might we improve the impact of our work on children who have been trafficked by better encouraging learning, collaboration, participation and calls to action?
might be the most accessible format for a shareable and accessible document for multiple stakeholders?

the process

the process

More than a toolkit!
At its very core, this was to be no ordinary toolkit. It would be the backbone of the CRCSE efforts. And the service design learned along the way, would provide the skills to improve upon the nonprofit/social justice organization’s ability to advocate and ultimately make greater impact for the people they serve.

The design challenge was to develop a comprehensive toolkit for the facilitation of group dialogue, knowledge sharing and strategies for change while considering multiple stakeholder entry points and scenarios of action.

This included the task of unpacking a web of information - both complicated and consequential - ranging from legal narrative to testimonials from youth impacted by CSE, containing advocacy strategies, case studies, resources, and documentation of lessons learned - and transforming it into an accessible, relevant, and engaging toolkit to inspire action. In addition to these core purposes, the toolkit had to be designed in such a way that it could be easily updated and sustainable over time, serving as a dynamic record of best practices and learnings.
Why this process?


02. audience

03. complexity to





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the outcome

In creating clarity from complexity, the NCYL CSE Toolkit has the capability to advance efforts in the reform and advocacy of commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth in any jurisdiction throughout the country. It guides people through implementing a comprehensive process – to work across agencies and establish collaborative structures to not only create change in their work, but to influence others in their advocacy efforts.

Developed in an accessible digital format, the NCYL CSE Toolkit is currently being used within California and will be shared across jurisdictions nationally during the final phase of the project.

The collaboration between SuperDeep and NCYL demonstrates the power of service design integrated with service oriented organizations to impact social change. By developing replicable and accessible processes and practice and infusing a design sensibility throughout, collaborators for change can address a serious subject matter and make it accessible to multiple stakeholders values and needs, encouraging wide-spread use. A simple toolkit can help drive a ripple effect of change.