Child Welfare System Gaps: “It’s not a question of resources. It’s a question of will!”

not for sale

According to a report released by the National Center for Youth Law, on ending commercial sexual exploitation of children in California, “Every day, the unthinkable happens: thousands of America’s children are coerced into performing sex for hire. Exploitation can start as young as age ten.

foster kids where is the loveSome exploited children are brutally beaten and raped. Others are isolated, drugged, and starved until they become “willing” participants. Yet, these children are regularly arrested and held in juvenile detention facilities even though they are victims of crime.”

According to the FBI, between 50 and 80 percent of commercially sexually exploited children are, or were formally involved with, the child welfare system. According to Leslie Heimov, Executive Director of Children’s Law Center of California, “the more we learn about child sex trafficking, the clearer it becomes that we are facing a national crisis. Without safe placements, access to highly trained therapists and other experts, we are powerless to stop the brutalization and re-victimization of the youth the child welfare system seeks to protect.”

Stacey Katz, Executive Director of an agency that serves over 100 commercially sexually exploited children per year in Alameda County, California, states, “We know from our daily work that the level of system coordination required to address the emotional trauma, constant physical danger and coercive techniques used by traffickers does not yet exist in California. The traffickers benefit directly from these system gaps. Until the agencies responsible for serving and protecting young people come together, we will continue to see youth who are severely traumatized and whose lives are in danger. We can do better by these youth-this is not an issue of resources. It’s an issue of will.”


How do you PREVENT the Sexual Exploitation of Children?


Last May, the state of Washington passed into law, a directive to all teachers and social service workers to collaborate and provide awareness and training materials for local school divisions on human trafficking, including strategies to prevent child trafficking.

That can sound scary. It sounds like the teachers would have to teach children – even elementary school children – seedy details about pimps and prostitution. But, nothing could be farther from the truth. While the teachers themselves will become educated on the tactics used by these predators, and how they target children, the programs that will be offered to the children will be positive and uplifting.

An article in the Washington Times Communities, details some of the programs and goals which have already been implemented in some of the schools:

Educating Children About Media and Advertising so that the consumerism and fame that are promoted in the media do not become their only values.

Exposing Children to Different Positive Role Models in order to develop their sense of morality and to help them find their own positive voice.

Discussing Personal Health and Etiquette Issues,  like Personal Hygiene and Social Manners, because children who lack this type of guidance at home are often bullied at school.

Teaching Programs that Teach about Bullying, Coping Skills, and Self-Defense. Children who are socially isolated are targeted by the pimps and pedophiles, who start out by giving them love and approval in order to gain control over them. Children need to know what to do, if they find themselves in this position.

Providing Nutrition Education because a healthy body is a requirement for the children to have good mental health

Exploring Different Cultures to educate and engage the children and to make them feel less awkward in the middle school years.

Encouraging Membership in Child-Oriented Volunteer Organizations, like scouting and extra-curricular activities, in order to keep them involved in positive activities.

Connecting Troubled Children with School Counselors. It takes more than a few sessions with a stranger to help  troubled children who are being targeted by seemingly loving predators. It is necessary for them to form long-lasting friendships with guidance counselors. Since the pimps are now targeting children as young as 13, it is imperative to identify and refer the at-risk children to school guidance and mentoring as early as possible, even in Elementary School.

These programs will not only help the at-risk children, but will help every child in their class. We applaud the state of Washington for taking the bold move to require these sorts of safeguards for their children, and we encourage other states to do the same thing.

To read the full article in the Washington Times Communities, please click on the picture associated with this blog entry.

About The Humanitarian Alliance

reching handsWe are an advocate based non-profit organization that stringently supports the SURVIVORS of sex trafficking.

We specialize in getting people INVOLVED through providing knowledge and tools to fight back against human sex trafficking in their own communities. There are more slaves today than at an other time in human history. Sex trafficking of children and women is now the second most ‘profitable’ enterprise in the world and the growth rates are increasing at alarming rates.

Most of the public is unaware of this. This concerns issues of poverty, lack of education, and childbirth, the role and status of women, and harmful traditional practices and sexual violence. Poverty, early marriage, and lack of education place mostly young women in positions of severe disadvantage and do not enable them to be advocates for their own health and well being.

This effort is a nonpartisan union that does support the current administrative efforts in ending human sex trafficking. We are also an organization that deeply appreciates the involvement of all faiths, races, and genders.


Ms. James