This year, ECPAT-USA celebrates 25 years of child protection. Things have changed for the better since we began working to protect children from sexual exploitation.
New York State passed its Safe Harbor law, the first in the nation, in 2008. While it is not the country’s strongest law to ensure children are protected from sexual exploitation, it did mark the beginning for New York to get more serious about training, awareness, prevention and protection for vulnerable children. Read our report “Steps to Safety” to learn more about the array of Safe Harbor laws across the country.
I sat down recently with Susan Morley, Special Advisor for Investigations to the Commissioner and Selina Higgins, Director of Child Trafficking Prevention and Policy of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), the leadership team for implementing protections for sexually exploited children in the city. They described extensive training, services and awareness raising going on throughout the system.
- In 2012 ACS published its initial policy on serving sexually exploited children.
- Almost a thousand ACS, foster care and preventive agency staff were trained in Child Trafficking Awareness and Engagement/Interviewing skills during 2015. Training is ongoing for staff and sub-contractor foster care and preventive agencies, and detention service providers. Over a hundred agencies around the city in which ACS works have received training.
- ACS hired its first Director of Child Trafficking Prevention and Policy in 2015, and is hiring an additional Child Trafficking Prevention Specialist.
- They created a specialized team of former NYPD Detectives to locate missing youth at risk of CSEC .
- Funding for services for trafficked youth was provided to eight youth-serving organizations.
- Work is taking place to develop a Child Trafficking Database so that we know how many sexually exploited children have been identified.
- The agency created an internal “Child Trafficking Mailbox” to facilitate communications, to provide alerts of trafficking cases, and to receive consultations, resource ideas and referral information.
- This year ACS is again providing 12 sessions of its full-day Child Trafficking Awareness and Skills training, with 5 dates targeted specifically for preventive service agencies.
But for 25 years there has been a growing movement to stop it. ECPAT-USA is proud of the progress we have made.
By Carol Smolenski
This is part of a series of blog posts about individuals, families and corporations who use their time and talents to benefit of ECPAT-USA and to raise awareness about the issue of child sex trafficking. These people have taken it upon themselves to educate others in their own ways and have allowed us to grow our network more than we could on our own. We do not take credit for their actions, but we are endlessly thankful for their support.
This is a first in a series of blog posts about individuals, families and corporations who use their time and talents to benefit of ECPAT-USA and to raise awareness about the issue of child sex trafficking. These people have taken it upon themselves to educate others in their own ways and have allowed us to grow our network more than we could on our own. We do not take credit for their actions, but we are endlessly thankful for their support. Continue reading
After a 2 year investigation, Maryland’s Attorney General announced the charges of 3 human traffickers. During the press conference, they noted that victims were sold in areas in and around Baltimore, MD. The map [pictured in this article] shows dozens of hotels that used as venues to exploit victims in a 2 year Maryland sex trafficking investigation that broke in the news yesterday. The case involved 40 victims (likely domestic children and teenagers). Continue reading
Pending Approval of The Code Board, Sonesta will Officially Join ECPAT’s Efforts to Protect Children from Exploitation and Trafficking
Newton, MA (July 19, 2016) – Sonesta International Hotels Corporation today announced its plans to enter into partnership with ECPAT-USA which includes signing their Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (“The Code”), an industry-driven tourism initiative dedicated to the prevention of the trafficking of children.
KF Events becomes the newest company to join the fight to protect children from sexual exploitation and human trafficking by joining the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct. KF Events, a meeting and events company is positioned to help engage directly with hotels who can be trained on the topic. ECPAT-USA is proud to welcome them to the family of companies protecting children. Continue reading
NGOs unite to call for an increased investment in prevention efforts to protect children from exploitation in ECPAT-USA’s response to the U.S. Government’s (USG) report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). In partnership with 59 organizations, ECPAT-USA submitted the NGO Alternative Report, an assessment of the U.S. Government’s work to implement the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (OPSC). Continue reading