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National Center for Victims of Crime Calls for New Response to Child Victims of Trafficking

For Immediate Release
January 30, 2013
Contact: Elizabeth Joyce

              (202) 467-8729
              (240) 274-4608 (Cell) 
              ejoyce@ncvc.org  

Washington, D.C.-- In observance of the 2013 National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the National Center for Victims of Crime today released "Bridging the Systems: Child Welfare, Trafficking, and Law Enforcement Working Together for Trafficked Children"--a set of recommendations for a new response to child victims of trafficking, who are often foster children, runaways, and other youth once under the care of child protective services. 


The recommendations emerged from a national roundtable of national, state, and local advocates, practitioners, and officials to consider the need 1) to incorporate a child welfare response into anti-trafficking efforts, and 2) to provide legal representation to the minor victims of foreign and domestic trafficking. With the support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, advocates for adult and child human trafficking victims, child welfare administrators, law enforcement, prosecutors, researchers, and legal advocates shared their experiences and perspectives on the needs of child victims of human trafficking.


"The dangers now facing the nation’s at-risk children require new solutions, new partnerships, and a new way of addressing this serious problem," said Tracy Feild, director of the Child Welfare Strategy Group at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. "This roundtable and the resulting recommendations show that we can combine our knowledge to protect some of our nation’s most vulnerable children."


Despite their varied backgrounds, stakeholders reached a broad consensus on the 26 recommendations that the roundtable produced. They agreed on the need for legislative and policy changes, research priorities, required training, new resources, and steps to improve the legal representation of child trafficking victims.  


"We hope the release of these recommendations will spur collaborations across the country among advocates for trafficking victims, criminal justice officials, the child welfare community, and legal advocates," said Mai Fernandez, the National Center's executive director. "Child victims of trafficking require a complete response to escape their victimization and the circumstances that put them at risk."


Federal legislation being drafted by Representative Karen Bass (D-CA) would prompt child welfare agencies across the country to begin identifying and serving child victims of trafficking and those at risk. "These recommendations point to the need for a comprehensive response by child welfare agencies to these underserved and often unrecognized victims," stated Representative Bass. "Federal legislation must be part of that comprehensive solution."  


Read the recommendations here or more information about child sex trafficking here.

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The National Center for Victims of Crime, established in 1985, is the nation's leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them. For more than 25 years, the National Center has led this nation's struggle to provide crime victims with the rights, protections, and services they need to rebuild their lives. Visit www.victimsofcrime.org for more information.