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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Report Highlights the Lack of Beds for Domestic Minor Victims of Sex Trafficking

On July 8, a briefing was held in Washington DC, to discuss the results of the National Colloquium on Shelter and Services for Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Victims. The event was organized by Shared Hope International, and presented by Congresswoman Linda Smith, President and Founder. The live streamed event was held in coordination with Senators Portman and Blumenthal, Co-Chairs of the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking; Reps. Ted Poe and Jim Costa, Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Victims' Rights and Represenitives Jaime Herrera Beutler and Donna F. Edwards, Co-Chairs, and Reps. Kristi Noem and Doris O. Matsui, Vice-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues. Participants discussed trends and obstacles in establishing treatment facilities for underage victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking.

The National Colloquium Report provides policy makers, government agencies, service providers, and law enforcement with an overview of current services and shelter delivery models. Due to the nature of the crime of commercial sexual exploitation of children, we all know that multiple systems interact with child victims and collaboration is critical among law enforcement, child welfare agencies, and other first responders.

Among the issues discussed was the current status of providers of shelter and victim services for youth victims of domestic minor sex trafficking within the United States, and the glaring lack of beds -there are currently only 226 beds available to youth victims of sex trafficking in the U.S. Also acknowledged were the community-based service providers, which, according to the report, can offer space for up to 1,684 minor victims of sexual exploitation. These numbers are an important indicator that the US has grown in the capacity to provide service to victims, but also have improvements to make. The Executive Director went on the address issues with services and shelters that were identified in the report, one being the geographical disparity between high-traffic areas and the locations of service providers.

The report shows that of practitioners providing direct services reported they receive referrals from juvenile probation from child protective services, and law enforcement. In addition, three national surveys for providers, survivors, and advocates and funders were developed and distributed and over 100 expert individuals and organizations completed the surveys. Responses were collected from 51 organizations, 33 survivors and 18 national advocacy and funding experts. The report includes 26 specific recommendations in 5 categories: Placement and services for identified youth, Licensing and maintaining shelter and programs, Identifying sustainable resources, Programmatic/therapeutic responses, and Safety and security recommendations

Click here to read the full report!

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