On Tuesday, March 12, the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequity and Public Policy was the site for a discussion on domestic sex trafficking. The all-day event was sponsored by the National Crittenton Foundation and Rights4Girls.
In recent years there has been increased attention on international sex trafficking with many of the victims ending up here in the United States. TThe goal of this forum was to focus increased attention on children from this country that end up becoming sexually exploited.
Many of the girls that end up being sold for sex and forced into prostitution begin in or have been in foster care. The meeting was an attempt to bring together survivors of child sex trafficking, researchers, practitioners, advocates, and policymakers to discuss promising practices and existing barriers to forming a coordinated, cross-systems approach to child sex trafficking at the federal, state, and local levels.
The agenda included a panel of survivors, a panel representing promising practices found in Minnesota, Los Angeles, and participants from Washington DC and Maryland. Participants also heard from George Sheldon, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Children and Families, and Reps. Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Karen Bass (D-Calif.).
There was agreement that there needs to be a greater understanding on the treatment needs of the girls who are rescued from such exploitation. There was also consensus that there needs to be a re-framing of the view that young girls involved are not criminals engaging in prostitution but victims of sexual abuse. Assistant Secretary Sheldon indicated that the Administration was working on new instructions for states that will be the result of an internal cross-department task force involving both HHS and Homeland Security.
To read more, you can go online to a publications made available during the conference: Pathways Into and Out of Commercial Sexual Victimization of Children: Understanding and Responding to Sexually Exploited Teens.
Also in this week’s edition of Capitol View on Kids:
A look at where federal youth programs stand as both the House and Senate unveil budget resolutions and negotiations on 2013 federal spending continue.
The House approved an extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program that does not include President Obama’s waiver offers to some states. The Senate could maintain the waivers simply by doing nothing.
John Sciamanna, who writes Capitol View on Kids, is a strategic consultant on child welfare policy and legislation. Complete copies of the newsletter Capitol View on Kids are available through membership in the National Foster Care Coalition (www.nationalfostercare.org ) or the National Child Abuse Coalition (www.nationalchildabuse.org ).
For more information on either coalition, email: [email protected]