November 2013Vol. 14, No. 8Combating Domestic Child Sex Trafficking
A June 2013 blog entry on the PolicyforResults.org website discusses the June 11 Senate hearing titled Sex Trafficking and Exploitation in America: Child Welfare's Role in Prevention and Intervention. Citing expert witness testimony, the article notes the existing service gaps adversely affecting trafficked youth, highlights the programs and policies some States have in place to serve this population, and provides recommendations to States on developing and implementing policies aimed at better protecting children from sex trafficking.
A large percentage of trafficked youth have a previous history of abuse, neglect, and child welfare involvement, and many are still legally in State custody while being trafficked. Witness testimony emphasized the need for child welfare system reform, and the article mirrors this emphasis. The article also focuses on the importance of providing trafficked youth with the specialized foster care and trauma-informed services they need to recover once they escape their exploiters.
Witness Susan Goldfarb, Executive Director of the Children's Advocacy Center of Suffolk County in Boston, MA, voiced concerns that when a child is abused by a noncaregiver (as is the case with most child prostitution and sex trafficking), the child welfare system does not intervene when a report is made. Instead, Goldfarb believes that child welfare should view these youth as "their kids" and investigate these reports as they would reports of child abuse by caregivers in order to ensure that survivors receive the protection and services they need.
Connecticut is doing just that; it now accepts all reports of child sex trafficking through its central intake Careline, regardless of whether or not the alleged abuser is a caregiver. In addition, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families works with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security to prosecute cases of child sex trafficking.
To read the full blog, visit PolicyforResults.org, a website and project of the Center for the Study of Social Policy, which is dedicated to helping policymakers make informed decisions that affect children and families. The June 2013 blog post, "Combating Domestic Child Sex Trafficking: The Crucial Role of State Policy," is available here:
The intersection of child welfare and human trafficking was the focus of the July/August 2013 issue of Children's Bureau Express. Access the issue here: