Providing Services to Runaway Youth and Victims of Human Trafficking
Fiona Mason, Danny Stewart  -  2013/1/22
http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum
 
 
In the State of NH, we have extremely sparse statistics on victims of human trafficking; practically zero data documenting the existence of trafficking within the state. Do you have any suggestions for where we could apply for funding (federal or otherwise) that would support a project designed to obtain the data needed to document 'Need' to funders.
 
1.  Lynn Baniak
 Even though I am sure the numbers are still very under-reported, we have used the statistics from the National Human Trafficking Hotline to at least get an idea of the types of calls they are receiving regarding potential victims. They break the calls down by state.
 
2.  Danny Stewart
 Some ways this can be done is to work with a researcher or evaluator to identify and quantify individuals who have experienced human trafficking in your program. You can also collect your own data from a group of trafficked individuals you are working with and compile a demographic and incidence profile that you can use in applying for funding. Although I don’t have any specific recommendation for where to apply for funding that would support a project to collect data and document need, I think there is validity in providing real evidence of the need in the work you are doing, using your own data and experiences—even if it is a small data set. Good luck!
 
3.  Danny Stewart
 Very good question. Lack of viable statistics on human trafficking, particularly with youth, are practically non-existent. Therein lies the problem. How do you know what you know to be a need, and how can you document that need? Finding ways to justify the need with reliable data is extremely important in seeking competitive funding.
 
 
What are identifying factors or red flags to look for when identifying human trafficking victims? Also, what are best practices when working with trafficked victims?
 
1.  Danny Stewart
 Part 8: Information may be one of the few things they own, and therefore, may guard it with their life—because it may be the few things they can control and feel they have power over.
 
2.  Danny Stewart
 Part 7: To be truly effective in working with youth, you have to be willing to let go of your sense of power and control as a provider, or else you may lose them, they may tune you out, and they may never return. It has to start with establishing trust—by developing a relationship with them. This process can take time, because they may not trust adults or providers and this may show up in how forthcoming or willing they are to disclose or “work” on issues—including issues involving their own safety, security, and well-being. Why should they trust you, just because you said that they should and can? How do they know they can trust you? What evidence do they have you are someone who will hear them and not just tell them what to do or not to do?
 
3.  Danny Stewart
 Part 6: For best practices, a client-centered approach is effective. Especially working with youth, addressing what they are wanting is where to start first. Being inquisitive or curious, but not in a investigative way, but coming from an interested one that wants to know more about their situation, is a good technique.
 
4.  Danny Stewart
 Part 5: Red Flags for Youth: • Youth is involved in a relationship with domestic violence or intimate partner violence issues (especially if their partner is significantly older). • Youth is being stalked. • Unaccompanied homeless minor or any minor who lacks stable housing • Young person has an escort who does not want to leave them alone/wants to speak for them and answer all the questions. • Minor who is working more than they are in school.
 
5.  Danny Stewart
 Part 4: Red Flags for Minors: • Lacks a cohesive story of where their parents are. • Lives with distant “relatives” • Not attending school (or falling asleep in school) • Treated differently than other kids in the home, with a higher proportion of household chores, malnourished, and/or socially isolated. • Any minor involved in any sex industry. • Youth who does not have access to their identification documents and there is no adult in their life who has access to them.
 
6.  Danny Stewart
 Part 3: Red Flags of Human Trafficking: • Person has gaps in their story or is reluctant to discuss very basic things like: how they make money, where they live, how/when they came to the U.S. • Person seems scared of consequences to a degree greater than the situation warrants (e.g. they are terrified of missing work when they have a court date) • Person is dependent on “friend” or co-worker to answer any questions
 
7.  Danny Stewart
 Part 2: The following comes from a training that one of our staff provides on the identification of human trafficking with domestic minors. Indicators of human trafficking may include: • Verbal, psychological, sexual and/or physical abuse • Malnourishment • Poor personal hygiene • Inappropriate clothing for weather/ environment • Limited or no social interaction • Does not have access to identity documents • Is paid very little or not at all • Lives and works on the premises • Not allowed to leave location unaccompanied • Heavy levels of security on site • Works long hours with minimal or no breaks
 
8.  Danny Stewart
 Part 1: This is an important question. Some of the things to look for are similar as to what you would find in working with victims of domestic violence, that is: issues of control. In situations where there seems to be some influence or control over the person you are working with. This may be manifested by the person avoiding services in general and counseling in particular, missing appointments, a reluctance to talk about issues that go to in-depth or personal, the insistence of the presence of someone who is waiting for the person you are working with, frequent calls to the victims’ cellphone, and other behavior that would indicate that the victim lacks control over their life.
 
 
How is police dealing with the HT victims and especially the children? What are some of the challenges victims face while interacting with police? Is Safe Horizon providing any training for the NYPD on HT?
 
1.  Danny Stewart
 Part 3: Also, some youth experience harassment by police if they are involved in sex work and have been arrested and condoms confiscated as “evidence of prostitution,” even though such practices are not only not admissible or contra productive to NYC DOHMH public health prevention work. Here is a link to an article and work of one organization in New York that is specifically dealing with this issue: http://www.urbanjustice.org/ujc/projects/sex.html We do provide trainings and ongoing work with the NYPD to help work with RH human trafficked youth. This is an important aspect of the work.
 
2.  Danny Stewart
 Part 2: RH youth who are victims may not necessarily see themselves as victims or having experienced victimization. RH youth are dealing with issues of survival—looking to meet their basic needs (food, shelter, safety). They may see the person who would be considered the perpetrator as meeting their basic needs—they provide housing, food, clothes, so they don’t have to be on the streets. Other challenges are that this person may not fit the profile of a perpetrator—because the individual may be in the same age range of the victim or be a romantic partner by choice.
 
3.  Danny Stewart
 Ongoing relationship and coalition building with the police is absolutely necessary to help raise the awareness of the issues, unique needs, and identification of the runaway & homeless youth (RHY). The police are generally focused on identification of a identifying someone who commits a crime—a perpetrator; however, this may not necessarily be the best approach in working with RH youth, especially where the picture of who the perpetrator is more complicated.
 
 
How many services are geared towards LGBT Runaway Youth who are victims of human trafficking?
 
1.  Danny Stewart
 Part 3: We also recognize that youth will identify one way to some staff, and differently to other staff, and may also “try” on varying identities during their time with us. This usually happens when they feel safe, comfortable and supported to do so. We maintain forms to document the work we do with the youth, but the demographic information is generally only asked once, but can be updated as needed, as with transgender youth who may be at the beginning of their transitioning process.
 
2.  Danny Stewart
 Part 2: We frame our questions in the context of the overall services we provide and the inclusive environment we create, by specifically informing of LGBT services and the expectation that the space is a safe welcoming environment for all—regardless of how someone identifies. We give youth the opt out of not responding to a question that they are uncomfortable answering.
 
3.  Danny Stewart
 Part 1: Demographic information is handled in a variety of ways. During street outreach, we collect basic demographic information that are based on staff's impression, and interactions they may have with a youth. We do not expect nor require youth to disclose identifying information on the street. Youth understandably may not feel comfortable disclosing identifying information, and they shouldn't necessarily be required, if at all possible. We do note during our intake process if a youth indicates their sexual or gender identity.
 
4.  Michelle
 You mention 40%, so rougly 7,600 of the 19,000 youth you serve a year, are LGBT. I'm wondering what data you collect from youth you serve and how: do you collect data at every encounter? including on the street? do you have a standard form? are you asking how they identify? how do youth respond to being asked demographic and other questions?
 
5.  Danny Stewart
 Part 2: We provide services as inclusively and holistically as possible to all RHY youth—which includes being sensitive to issues of identity, self-disclosure, and behavior from initial point of entry of intake and assessment, to counseling and support, and through networking and community outreach with LGBT youth specific organizations to raise awareness and referrals. In addition, through our drop-in center model, we provide LGBT specific services, including support groups, counseling, case management, referrals for services providers and special events to meet the needs of LGBT youth. We also work with medical providers that are not only sensitive, but experienced and knowledgeable about LGBT youth psychosocial issues and medical needs.
 
6.  Danny Stewart
 Part 1: Approximately 40% of the RH youth we serve are LGBT. This number has been fairly consistent over the last 10-15 years—nationally and in New York State. Of these, a percentage is also victims of human trafficking. Because of the same reasons and factors that places LGBT youth at risk for homelessness, violence, rejection, and trauma, also places LGBT youth at risk for victimization of human trafficking.
 
 
I have particular concerns for youth who did not accept services or safe havens. They may come and go at will to/from the home of parents/guardians, but still endanger themselves. In PA, there are only voluntary services available to parents or these at-risk youth. Do you believe that non-criminal and non-mental health laws should be developed (by states?) to permit court ordered placement (secure or other) for a finite time (up to 30 days?) so that professional assessment, intervention, and/or planning for stabilization services at home (or any other option like a relative or appropriate Children& Youth facility) can be implemented? IF yes, how would the host construct a supportive program or law for these situations?
 
1.  Danny Stewart
 2. As service providers, we have to accept we have no control or power over anyone else. That means allowing youth to make bad decisions and getting involved in harmful situations. It can be incredibly healing and reparative for youth to see that service providers will still accept them and will continue to consistently work with them, even when they are involved in self-destructive behaviors. Change and healing are a process--a journey-- and sometimes that journey takes a long time before you reach the destination.
 
2.  Danny Stewart
 1. Utilizing youth voice is an aspect of a positive youth development approach. Specifically, this means allowing youth to have a voice in decision-making, program design, service provision, including service plan development of goals and referrals. Youth who are used to having power taken away, not being in control over their own lives, not allowed to make decisions, can be empowered by service providers sharing power in the provision of services. Youth gain self-esteem, a sense of belonging, acceptance, and confidence--things we all need to be successful human beings.
 
3.  Linda
 I echo these concerns and agree that a youth empowered approach is ideal, but it is so very difficult to watch these youth make dangerous and damaging choices while attempting to engage them and help them reframe their experiences from that of "he loves me" to that of "he used me and I will survive this, " or whatever the particular narrative. In suggesting a youth voice approach, are you also suggesting that the adults/helpers/caregivers have to accept that these kids will put themselves in harm's way again and again while on the path to recovery?
 
4.  Danny Stewart
 Part 2: A better approach, as hard as it may be, is to not be parental and not be authoritative. To let go of your own power and control and share that is crucial in being effective in working with youth. While youth who are at greatest risk may need structure and a lot of hand holding, they also need to be heard and most importantly, involved in the decision-making process of what to do and what services they want and what they do not want. The work is in creating space to allow and foster openness and opportunities for the youth to reclaim control and power that has been taken away from them. This is an important task in youth development. Crafting services and a model that takes into account a youth development framework absolutely necessary.
 
5.  Danny Stewart
 Part 1: I think this is a tricky question. I can’t speak about programming for working with parents or caregivers of youth who have been trafficked. Nevertheless, child protection laws already exist that speak to placement of youth and children who are in danger or abuse in the home. The work I am more familiar with is with working directly with youth. Youth who are victimized already feel a lack of control and power, and a voice in their own process. Oftentimes, the process of professionals wanting to help and meet the needs of youth, while well intentioned and coming from a good place, can leave youth feeling re-traumatized, re-victimized, invisible, powerless, labeled and minimized to a label--victim.
 
 
What grants are you aware of coming up this year for residental homes/programs for American victims of sex trafficking?
 
1.  Danny Stewart
 I am not aware of specific funding available. However, domestic violence residential programs will often partner with human trafficking organizations to designate or make beds avialable for victims of human trafficking. The Polaris Project conducted a survey of shelter beds available for human trafficking ssurvivors in the US. Here is the link to the findings report: http://www.polarisproject.org/resources/tools-for-service-providers-and-law-enforcement/shelter-bed-report
 
 
How can our community improve our perception of human trafficking(HT) when we continue to allow a community to believe HT only exist in the ghetto? Until the community as a whole begin to care and advocate for victims things will not change. You will not see any billboards to raise awareness about HT but when you drive through the ghetto that is only when you see the outcry to help victims. Why haven't there been new studies of the profile of the consumers who are demanding the services of commercial sex acts? Maybe then we can then track down those consumers and end the demand for commercial sex acts that will then in turn reduce the alarm rates of HT.
 
1.  Jennifer Le
 We can conduct research to understand why people become victims of human trafficking willingly or not and those reasons could be financial dependency, abuse and the belief of learned-helplessness but our services to help victims will only continue to come from the standpoint of reactive services. Until we can understand why the people who demands the commercial sex acts, pinpoint who these people are, then we can finally work towards to preventing anymore people becoming victims of human trafficking.
 
2.  Pam Strickland
 I agree that ending demand is the only way to end sex trafficking. Unfortunately, since prostitution laws are not consistently enforced (because prostitution is a "victimless" crime), sex trafficking victims are often not discovered. I think severe penalties for the PURCHASE of sex would help, but only if law enforcement would enforce that.
 
 
In Ohio we have limited resources for providing a safe house for minor sex trafficking victims- recently our organization encountered the need to place a 14 year old sex trafficking victim out of our county for safety reasons. She was a chronic runaway and had an open case with our Children Services. Parent was still engaged and trying to help with the child's needs. None of the agencies that were working with the youth wanted to take financial responsility for services needed. What options are available in cases like this? Is there grounds for Children Services to take guardianship for the protection of the youth? We are wanting to have a plan in place to activate if this should occurr again. Any suggestions or similar experiences shared would be appreciated.
 
1.  Fiona Mason
 State laws often differ, and we can’t speak specifically about Ohio. I would suggest that you start with Children’s Services because they are probably the ones legally responsible for the safety of any and all children, especially a child that already has an open case with them. If you encounter resistance from them you could check with local child advocacy organizations, such as Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) or any legal children’s rights organizations that represent foster youth.
 
 
What is your suggestion on how to obtain the victims trust?
 
 
What is being done to educate our youth who chronically AWOL to understand the dangers they put themselves in. As an agency, how can we work together to remedy, or at least, decrease the number of youth who run away or the number times they run away. Why do they run?
 
1.  Fiona Mason
 Part 7: Some youth are at greater risk of bad experiences than others. As the YWEP research (and many other reports) have found, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning and Gender-Non-Conforming (LGBTQGNC) youth of color experience the greatest amount of bad encounters with individuals and with organizations. What is your organization doing to create safe and welcoming spaces for youth of color and/or LGBTQGNC youth? We know that approximately 75% of homeless youth are youth of color, even though youth of color represent less than 50% of the general youth population. LGBTQ youth make up approximately 5% of the general youth population but closer to 50% of the homeless youth population. What is your organization doing to combat this trend?
 
2.  Fiona Mason
 Part 6: If we want to know why an individual young person is running away, the only way to know is to ask them directly and to make sure they feel comfortable to answer honestly.
 
3.  Fiona Mason
 Part 5: We would challenge child welfare agencies to begin this work with themselves. Maybe hold a focus group with the youth in your care to see how they feel about the services they are receiving and to see if they have unmet needs. Does your agency have a comprehensive, anonymous, responsive grievance system where youth can file complaints if they have been assaulted or feel unsafe? Given the frequency with which youth in care are assaulted and/or harassed, it is likely that a situation like this has already happened to a young person staying with your agency or that it will happen at some point. How does your agency work to prevent these situations? How does your agency respond after they happen?
 
4.  Fiona Mason
 Part 4: YWEP’s research (available in it’s entirety here: http://ywepchicago.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/bad-encounter-line-report-2012.pdf) studied the violence that young women in the sex trade in Chicago experienced. Amongst other facts, they found that pimps accounted for 4% of the total violence experienced by young women in the sex trade, while the Illinois Department of Children and Families accounted for 6% of the violence reported (police were the greatest perpetrators of violence, with 30% of reported instances of violence).
 
5.  Fiona Mason
 Part 3: The Young Women’s Empowerment Project (http://ywepchicago.wordpress.com/about/) is a Chicago member based social justice organizing project that is led by and for young people of color who have current or former experience in the sex trade and street economies. Everybody who is on staff and has decision making power at YWEP was once a member there and is between the ages of 12-24 years old. YWEP released a report in 2012 which is currently the only research on young women in the sex trade that was conducted by young women with experience in the sex trade.
 
6.  Fiona Mason
 Part 2: As an organization that works with runaway and homeless youth, frequently we hear from young people that they are running away from care because they did not feel supported and cared for while in care and/or they experienced violence (physical or sexual) while in care. Working with runaway and homeless youth for about 30 years now, our agency has found that youth generally do not run to the streets unless they think they will receive more love there or they feel safer there.
 
7.  Fiona Mason
 Part 1: Youth run away from care for many reasons, since they are all individuals. Instead of asking “why do they run?” perhaps we can be self-critical and ask, “why would they want to stay?” Child welfare agencies, group homes, and foster care placements are mandated to be meet youth’s needs for not only physical survival, but also emotional support and safety. Yet many youth report that they ran away because they were looking for these things after not receiving them in care. Would we want the children we care about (our own children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, etc.) to stay in a facility like the one we work at? What can we do to make youth feel comfortable staying with us and want to stay with us?
 
 
How do we get parents to participate in these programs once the youth has been returned to the hom?
 
 
In searching for emergency housing options, we are often faced by the barrier of drug addiction in that most, if not all, crisis housing options will not take people who are actively using or cannot provide the support needed for someone using or detoxing. Have you dealt with this barrier and how do you recommend others overcome it/work with it?
 
1.  Danny Stewart
 Part 2: It is a good idea to develop a plan that includes the realistic options available to help support youth, which may include counseling and case management for example. Providing ongoing support and conversations about substance use and how to reduce the harm is important. A harm reduction approach can be effective and empowering for youth. This allows the work to focus on client taking realistic steps to reduce the harm in their life. However, most programs that work with housing and substance use—use an abstinence approach—and this can set up all but the most high functioning, motivated, mentally and emotionally stable to fail.
 
2.  Danny Stewart
 Part 1: I agree, this is a huge barrier to providing services—particularly in providing housing for youth who use substances. Usually, these restrictions are based on state or federal regulations that cannot be negotiated. It is very important to be forthright with youth on these regulations so that they are not set up for failure—if they are not wanting or willing to stop using. The youth should be fully informed of what the rules and regulations are before a referral is made. If there is a requirement that someone participates in a detox program as part of the conditions of housing, then those options should be explored with the youth. Is this a realistic option for them?
 
 
What is domestic sex trafficking?
 
1.  Fiona Mason
 The federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act defines sex trafficking as: “sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.” “Domestic” sex trafficking does not have a legal definition, some people use the word “domestic” to differentiate sex trafficking that happens to U.S. citizen and Lawful Permanent Residents in the United States from sex trafficking that happens to undocumented immigrants, other people use the word “domestic” to differentiate sex trafficking that happens wholly within a country (to anyone) from international sex trafficking where a person is brought to a country for the purpose of sex trafficking.
 
 
How can service providers give effective referrals to this population in a rural area with sparse social services.
 
1.  Fiona Mason
 1. Polaris Project who runs the National Human Trafficking Resource Center have great state by state resources via their hotline and website. 2. ORR funds 3 agencies to coordinate trafficking services across the entire country--USCRI, Tapestri and Heartland Human Care Services. Each program is responsible for a specific region and will work with you to find coverage in your area. 3. Our agency, and others provide TA to other programs, so feel free to reach out directly. There are still many gaps, but hopefully the closest provider may have ideas or resources despite not being a trafficking specific provider and the ORR funded programs are specifically tasked to provide training and TA so that nearby providers are better equipped to meet the needs of your client.
 
 
Describe appropriate treatment programs for adolescents victims of HT.
 
1.  Fiona Mason
 Meeting the self-defined needs of the adolescent, supporting them in achieving their goals (including providing the concrete resources necessary to meet their goals), offering stability. Believing adolescents. Treating every young person as an individual with their own unique circumstances and needs. Understanding that voluntary services are always preferable to mandated services.
 
 
I have recently attended a Human Trafficking training which focused on urban areas. I'm wondering if there are trends to be conscious of in more rural areas and are there some best practices which could be incorporated in the intake process in the emergency shelter setting?
 
1.  Danny Stewart
 Good question. I'm not sure how much of a response I can provide to best practices, so here is a link to Safe Horizon's Anti-Trafficking Program: http://www.safehorizon.org/index/what-we-do-2/anti-trafficking-program-13.html. I hope this can provide some useful information. Overall, a best practice approach incorporates a trauma-informed lens. Other best practice approaches are: 1. Offering a one-stop shop for services. This provides better communication and coordination of services and less confusion for victims. 2. Consistent case managers. A central case manager with knowledge of all aspects of a victim’s situation can ultimately save time and resources.
 
 
How familiar and trained to identify sex trafficking of minors are professionals/workers in runaway youth services? Housing and emergency shelters are scarce in many communities, but in particular, smaller communities may feel even greater scarcity? Do others have good ideas for alternatives to shelters to youth in smaller communities because shelters may not be feasible in these resource-strapped communities where there is likely a lower need?
 
1.  Fiona Mason
 Part 5: Unfortunately there are no magical solutions to these problems. Creating a functioning social safety net and working to end all homelessness (urban and rural) should be a goal. In the meantime, it is always best practice to include the voices of those impacted when creating a response. What do currently or formerly homeless and/or trafficked youth in your community see as the solution?
 
2.  Fiona Mason
 Part 4: 250 youth shelter beds are far too few for NYC, but many rural communities lack any youth shelters at all, which creates a different sort of scarcity. Youth in urban areas with limited resources are often struggling to piece together support, on waiting lists for resources, or in competition for resources. In many rural areas youth survive without the existence of support structures and often in isolation from others who have had similar experiences.
 
3.  Fiona Mason
 Part 3: Housing (especially affordable housing) and emergency shelters are scarce in every community. Urban communities often have a variety of resources available, but frequently nowhere near enough to meet the demand for services. For example, in NYC there are an estimated minimum of 4,000 unaccompanied homeless youth every single night, however NYC only provides approximately 250 youth shelter beds, providing safe, age-appropriate shelter to less than 10% of youth in need.
 
4.  Fiona Mason
 Part 2: However, the programs that consciously and intentionally engaged youth around their involvement in the sex trade were often the only programs/agencies/organizations/institutions doing so for many decades. These runaway and homeless youth programs have developed most of the best practices in this area.
 
5.  Fiona Mason
 Part 1: As with all fields, runaway and homeless youth (RHY) services encompass a variety of services and programs, with a variety of approaches and understandings. That said, RHY providers have historically been the programs working with youth in the sex trade, dating back to before the passage of any anti-trafficking legislation or the creation of anti-trafficking frameworks. Sometimes these programs employed a “don’t ask don’t tell” approach, and this should not be replicated.
 
 
What is being done to prevent runaway and homeless youth from being on the streets and in vulnerable situations that leave these young people in danger of being trafficked and exploited?
 
1.  Fiona Mason
 Part 2: On the positive side, Office of Victims of Crime has funded demonstration projects to serve trafficked youth and study program models. This information could potentially lead to further funding for trafficked youth. Homeless youth programs and other programs working with trafficked youth make strong enough connections with youth that they are able to partner with them to safety plan even when youth are in the most vulnerable situations.
 
2.  Fiona Mason
 Nothing positive, the trend is toward cutting resources and funding for programs that work with these youth, as opposed to expanding to meet the actual need. In NY state, cumulatively over the past several years, funding for runaway and homeless youth services have been cut approximately 70%. Governor Cuomo is proposing further reductions for the upcoming fiscal year. There is also a shortage of prevention work that focuses on the root causes of youth homelessness and exploitation, namely reducing poverty, funding youth shelters, creating affordable housing, addressing youth unemployment, ending the criminalization of street-involved youth and all marginalized youth, reforming child welfare systems, working to end family and community rejection of LGBTQ youth, etc.
 
 
I haven't seen any public awareness campaigns/initiatives that educate the public about human trafficking and what they can do help put an end to it. Do any campaigns exist? I have done several for awareness campaigns for OJJDP and particularly interested in this topic. I think there is a real need to educate the public on how they can help and more specifically the target girls 12+ as a prevention effort.
 
1.  Barbara Murray
 In Oklahoma we have an awareness campaign called shes13.com. We have billboards and encourage community groups to chalk shes13.com in public areas. When people log on to shes13.com they learn that the average age of a trafficked female is 13 years old. There they will also find information on identification, treatment and prevention.
 
 
Have their been any studies conducted about the various services provided to runaway youth victims? If not studies, recommended articles or websites that can be used as good resources?
 
1.  Michelle
 Here is a link to Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) services, funded by Family and Youth Services (FYSB), a bureau of the Administration for Children and Families. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/fysb/programs/runaway-homeless-youth
 
 
Do you recommend residential treatment facilities for these youth ? If you do can you share why and share some names of residential treatments that know how to work with these youth
 
1.  Fiona Mason
 If a youth does not have safe shelter options and wants to be housed, we should offer that to them on a voluntary basis. Part of decriminalizing youth in the sex trade means not coercing them into programs that do not meet their self-identified needs and also means not placing them in locked facilities.
 
 
We are a child advocacy center that provides help to child victims of sexual abuse, including specialized interviewing and medical exams. How do you suggest that we get started with child sex trafficking, which is a variant of what we currently do?
 
1.  Lynn Baniak
 In NY, we are exploring the ways that CACs (and muti-disciplinary teams) can be used with child trafficking victims. I think CACs should get involved with local human trafficking taskforces to explore this role.
 
 
Is Safe Horizon a national or local organization that provides services to youth and/or adults?
 
1.  Danny Stewart
 Safe Horizon is a NYC based organization. The programs provided are focused on resources and services available in NYC. One of the programs is called Streetwork. Streetwork is a program for homeless youth up to aged 24. Streetwork is comprised of two drop-in centers and a crisis shelter (30 day) located in Manhattan. Our homeless youth client population, although maninly of NYC. However, because some sub-populations of homeless youth travel to NYC, we also have clients from all-over the nation, because of the large amount of resources and the safety that anonymity brings by being in NYC.
 
 
There are different perspectives about keeping the youth safe and secure in a setting to prevent running away from a facility. what are some appropriate ways to protect the young person without sending the message that they are "locked" in.
 
1.  Danny Stewart
 Part 2: This is not to say that guidelines and expectations for being in the program are not to be established and enforced. There needs to be clear expectations and boundaries communicated and demonstrated by staff. However, if a youth does not feel supported, safe, or is unable to abide by expectations, they may choose to run or leave. I think there are ways to ensure safety without sending the message of being "locked in."
 
2.  Danny Stewart
 Part 1: Youth run away for various reasons. Youth may run away from home if they are not feeling safe, supported, nurtured and loved. We all as human beings need these things. They also may flee dangerous and violent situations in the home. Our objective as providers must be to create safe, supportive and welcoming environoments that focuses on relationship building, fostering trust, and reparations that help to heal and mend the damage and trauma experienced by youth.
 
 
If a victim is offered a way out or taken out of a trafficking situation, what are some of the key services and supports that are generally needed for them to successfully stay out?
 
1.  Jody Williams
 When I started Sex Workers Anonymous in 1987 - I had Mayor Bradley ask me to devise a system that would stop them from returning to jail over and over again. No one on the board listened to me - and insisted on just focusing on drug treatment and job training. 18 months later they wound up with clean and sober prostitutes with jobs coming into the LA jails. Then they listened and we got somewhere. If I can help www.sexworkersanonymous.net A key crucial vital point is to refer them to us where they can talk to other survivors. If you can't - that's why we made the show at http://stoptraffictalk.webs.com/apps/podcast/ and our Recovery Guide if they can't call or email. They have to have "peer" survivor support.
 
2.  Fiona Mason
 In terms of services, clients most often ask for help with immigration or legal services, financial assistance for housing, food and clothing needs and emotional support. And from there, the supports that are needed often center around finding a job with a living wage and fair treatment—part of the work we do is providing information about their worker’s rights as well as linking them with vocational and educational services. Another part of the work is on us as providers in understanding that some clients are going to go back to the work that they know, despite the physical or emotional safety concerns.
 
3.  Fiona Mason
 This is a great, but difficult question to answer as each victim/survivor is an individual with unique needs. That being said, our program’s experience is that some people are ready to leave when LE (for example) helps them to leave and others are not. We have found that being flexible and offering services with few restrictions has enabled our clients to reach out to us and receive services whenever they are ready. In order to receive services from us, all you have to do is show up—which means that we have many clients who take months or even years to fully engage in services.
 
 
What role, if any, do you think the early sexualization phenomenon (sexualized portrayals in media, earlier puberty, youth access to porn online, etc.) plays in making girls vulnerable to sexual exploitation? Could a public awareness campaign aimed at teens help reduce their risk?
 
1.  Jody Williams
 If your public awareness campaign is out of the mouths of survivors - yes. Otherwise, you're looking at "Reefer Madness" and no one listens because they're laughing. We've been doing this a long time now, since 1987, and we have found prevention works. But access to porn has nothing to do with trafficking.
 
2.  Jen Smith
 Is anyone doing this kind of education via their Street Outreach programs or giving related training to Peer Outreach workers?
 
 
Are Child Protective Services often involved with these youth? If so, what is their role in screening and identifying these youth?
 
1.  Lynn Baniak
 This will vary state by state, but in NY, CPS would get involved if the parent or caretaker is involved in the trafficking. However, children may enter through the "CPS door" for reasons other than human trafficking and also be child trafficking victims. We are currently working on a project that will include screening tools for child welfare staff.
 
 
My state’s Department of Children’s Services (DCS) has mandated that children identified as victim of human trafficking receive appropriate services. However, when the children enter the system they receive the usual treatment interventions which have proven ineffective with runaways exploited via sex trafficking. The DCS’s staff has received GEM and other training related to commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). However, there has not been a significant change in workers’ beliefs about the children victimized in commercial sex industry nor have treatment facilities/service providers adapted their treatment methods to service CSEC. Please share some best practices.
 
 
How can a youth service provider protect a young victim of trafficking without betraying trust?
 
1.  Fiona Mason
 Part 2: Youth are entitled to know this information before they are asked to share any of their information. Then the program needs to walk the talk by following the policy. Youth should not be pushed to disclose more than they are comfortable or to disclose information before they are comfortable. When youth can control who knows what information about them, and they see that others are respecting their boundaries and following confidentiality policies, they generally learn that a worker or program is trustworthy and at that point they may feel safe to share more information.
 
2.  Fiona Mason
 Youth service providers can protect youth without betraying trust by having a strong confidentiality policy. Youth should be informed at the outset what this policy is, and specifically what is covered and what isn’t, an explanation of mandated reporting laws and how those are interpreted in your program. Youth should know what confidentiality in your program means, in terms of who will know what, and how and when information is shared. This should be explained transparently with examples of things that are confidential and things that are not.
 
 
What have you learned is not helpful in assisting homeless/runaway victims? How also, might outreach to LGBT youth be different than outreach to other communities?
 
1.  Jody Williams
 This is Sex Workers Anonymous - founded in 1987. Our experience is that male victims are often more horribly abused than females believe it or not. They will often appear overtly sexual or flirty - however this is just to see if they can "trust" you. Also, just because they may see same sex "johns" doesn't make them gay. Neither does transgender make them gay. If we can help at all www.sexworkersanonymous.net
 
2.  Danny Stewart
 Part 2: Outreach to LGBT youth would need to be done sensitively and respectfully in areas where LGBT youth are known to congregate. Youth should be approached in a way that would not involuntarily disclose their sexual and gender identities. Youth may not be comfortable or feel safe disclosing their identity or behavior, and may assume another identity until they know it is safe and they are comfortable in talking about their situations. Care would also need to be taken as to unknowingly create a harmful situations where a partner, john, pimp may be present. A challenge is working with the youth to come to understand and identify the situation as domestic violence or human trafficking--especially when they may see it as a romantic relationship.
 
3.  Danny Stewart
 Part 1: What is not helpful in providing services to youth is to be parental, come from a stance of knowing what's best, and to be disingenuous, and above all to be judgmental in tone and appearance. Youth can smell judgment even without someone saying a word through non-verbal communication. This can be done by well-meaning staff who may feel they are nonjudgmental but may display or communicate a judgmental approach that will not only be counterproductive, will prevent open communication and trust to be established. Without establishing a trusting relationship with the youth, very little in-depth and meaningful work can be achieved. It is the essential element in youth work—particularly with youth from vulnerable populations, such as LGBT.
 
 
In recent interactions with HT in our agency, we've noticed that there seems to be a discrepency with state laws and charging minors with prostitution. Are the laws different in other states and are charges (or lack there of) transferrable across state lines?
 
1.  Danny Stewart
 Laws do vary state by state. The Polaris Project provides an overview and comparison of state and federal anti-trafficking laws. Here is the link: http://www.polarisproject.org/resources/state-and-federal-laws
 
 
I'm curious about any known or presumptive implications of housing and treating RH youth together with victims of trafficking.
 
1.  Jody Williams
 You are right about that. In the years I've done this work - I've heard over and over again that if they did not feel they were "safe" and if they did not feel there was a solid program being offered to them that worked they would leave. If you have people that are staying past the two week mark and are there by choice - you're doing something right. The three reasons I hear them say why they leave is either feeling unsafe, or not feeling the program is offering them anything that will work for them, or if the other residents don't "identify" with them or they don't feel a common bond or ground with them.
 
2.  Fiona Mason
 Part 2: We have found that running a safe shelter means prioritizing the needs of all youth. Sometimes this means having community standards that all youth are held to and sometimes this means creating additional safety plans with youth based on their individual situations. We are proud of our shelter and because it is a voluntary shelter, if youth did not feel safe there or felt that their needs were not being met, we would not have any residents. As it is, we maintain a waiting list for our 24-bed shelter that averages approximately 80 youth at any given time.
 
3.  Fiona Mason
 Safe Horizon Streetwork Project has operated a youth shelter for over ten years that is open to any youth in need of shelter. Shelter services are provided on an individualized basis, taking into account the needs of each individual youth. We have always housed trafficked youth along with youth in need of housing for other reasons, including general homelessness.
 
 
What laws are currently in place to protect human/sex trafficking victims, especially minors? What can we do to help change the perception that victims choose to be in these circumstances, especially when it comes to sex trafficking and labeling young girls "prostitutes" even though they are sex slaves?
 
1.  Jody Williams
 This is Sex Workers Anonymous - founded in 1987. It's been our experience over the years that you can rarely see any signs of force. The most common way of threatening victims is through "indirect" non-verbal means. One of the best ways to tell is if you can see the fear in them, or even a "disconnection". You can also find out if their trafficker knows where the family lives. If the pimps know where the mother, siblings, etc., lives then they probably are being threatened indirectly. Or in a million other ways. I had one case where the pimp had moved the disabled brother into his house with him so that if the victim thought about running - she knew her brother was back at his house unable to defend himself. If I can be of any help www.sexworkersanonymous.net
 
2.  Gretchen Hunt
 Under the TVPA, minors in commercial sex need not show force, fraud or coercion to be considered victims of trafficking. However, not all state laws protect these children. Several have "Safe Harbor" laws that define children in commercial sex as victims rather than arresting them with prostitution (or more commonly, for status offenses). Polaris Project and Safe Harbor both have reports ranking all of the states and provide links to state laws on trafficking. Illinois has what some refer to as the most comprehensive safe harbor statute. In our training (and pushing for safe harbor in our state), we have focused on referring to victim services as an alternative to detention/arrest and building allies within CPS, DJJ, and the state.
 
 
How can state law enforcement tell the difference between a regular runaway and a RHY youth and know how to deal with each one? Safe Horizons?
 
1.  Danny Stewart
 Usually after immediate crisis of running away, the goals are to figure out what they need and work to address these needs--including housing placement in longer term options, such as supportive and transitional living programs. Youth who are dealing with continued homelessness, in addition to dealing with trauma that may have led to their situation, are often dealing with mental health and substance use issues.
 
2.  Danny Stewart
 If a youth is under the age of 18, then the local child protective services may be called to investigate the situation. When we first encounter a youth, we find out their story and what is going on for them. Now, they may not be always forthcoming or may not provide accurate information, but we listen and provide support through the process. We assess their current situation, what their current family situation is like, including assessing for incidents of violence and trauma. We work to ensure they are safe and that there is some sort of plan of what to do next, including immediate placement in a crisis shelter, and to explore viable options for them.
 
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