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Child Trafficking Survivors to Guide State Policy

Beginning June 1, California will move one step closer to a child trafficking policy process that is shaped and informed by actual survivors.

The Child Welfare Council’s Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) Action Team’s (Action Team) new Advisory Board, comprised of twelve adult survivors of child sex trafficking, is the first state-sponsored committee of its kind. Considered a priority by the Action Team, the Advisory Board was developed with input from many survivors, survivor organizations, advocacy groups, government agencies and more.

Its members are tasked with providing ongoing guidance to the Action Team, governmental agencies, community-based organizations and other stakeholders regarding how to improve state and local policy for CSEC and at-risk children and youth. Members will advise the Action Team on a variety of topics including, but not limited to, policies to identify and serve CSEC, prevention and intervention strategies, placement services and supports, and training curriculum. Members themselves will play a pivotal role in deciding which policy matters to focus on in their first year.

Participants will also receive training and learning opportunities throughout their tenure to bolster their efficacy as CSEC policy advocates.

The Advisory Board will be officially introduced at the Action Team’s June 1 meeting in Sacramento. Members were selected from a competitive pool of qualified applicants from across the state. These women, men, and transgender members represent a dynamic group of individuals who will undoubtedly shape California’s approach to sex trafficking moving forward. The members come from a variety of professional backgrounds including current students, clinicians, teachers, and individuals who work directly with victims of sex trafficking. The Board members range in age from 19 to 48. Some have many years of experience in professional advocacy while others are new to this role. Board members represent the following counties: Alameda, Los Angeles, El Dorado, Monterey, San Diego, Sacramento, Orange and San Joaquin.

The Advisory Board’s establishment comes at a critical time, as counties are now requesting survivor input more than ever before. Twenty-two counties are in their first year of implementing state-funded, multidisciplinary approaches to identifying and serving CSEC through the CSEC Program (SB 855). Additionally, new federal mandates (HR 4980/SB 794) will require all 58 counties develop processes for identifying, serving, and documenting CSEC by September 29, 2016.

The Advisory Board is an official body of the Action Team, which is staffed by the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) and the Children’s Law Center of California. To learn more or request survivor input on CSEC policies, contact NCYL policy analyst Elizabeth Laferriere at elaferriere@youthlaw.org

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