JuST Response Council
A group of over 30 experts from around the country who collaborate to improve responses to juvenile sex trafficking victims, drawing on the group's combined research, knowledge and experience in services, law and policy.
Advocate for trafficking informed responses within existing systems.
Build information sharing networks for promising practices.
Connect existing research finding to field implementation.
Shape legislation and policy that directly impacts the JuST Response Goal.
Child sex trafficking affects existing youth serving systems, government, public and private, whether or not it is named or addressed. When it comes to youth serving agencies or there is rarely a social justice issue that doesn’t connect with child sex trafficking. Despite the discrepancies in state and local resource landscapes, systems that serve and or respond to children need to be considering the role of child sex trafficking in their responses.
Programs and responses are often being created in silos, because there is often not a mechanism to quickly or easily find what other states are doing, or many avenues to promote successes, so there is an assumption that states have to start from scratch. The reality is there are many states or programs that have seen promising results within program implementation and have learned from program failures and challenges.
There is often a disconnect between system building and practice, and the most recent research, and evidence in the field.
Without having statutes and clear policies in place we cannot ensure long-term broad based responses will not only be implemented, but will continue to be evaluated and improved upon as we learn from implementation.
RESPONDING TO SEX TRAFFICKING VICTIM-OFFENDER INTERSECTIONALITY: A Guide for Criminal Justice Stakeholders
Field guidance by Shared Hope International and the Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation at Villanova Law, and informed by Shared Hope’s JuST Response Council, which seeks to promote dialogue and more just responses to sex trafficking survivors who face a criminal justice response for alleged sex trafficking conduct.
- Nancy Baldwin, Hickey Family Foundation (AZ)
- Darla Bardine, National Network for Youth (DC)
- Lauren Behsudi, Casey Family Programs (DC)
- Alisa Bernard, Organization for Prostitution Survivors (WA)
- Laura Boyd, Foster Family-based Treatment Association (OK)
- Vednita Carter, Founder Breaking Free (MN)
- Kristy Childs, Veronica’s Voice (KS)
- Mercy Dizon, Queers United Ending Exploitation (WA)
- Denise Edwards, National Children’s Alliance (DC)
- Teresa Forliti, (MN)
- Bethany Gilot, BGilot Consulting (FL)
- Melinda Giovengo, YouthCare (WA)
- Kim Grabert, Citrus Health Network (FL)
- Lisa Goldblatt Grace, My Life My Choice, Justice Resource Institute (MA)
- Yolanda Graham, Devereux Georgia (GA)
- Michelle Guymon, L.A. County Probation Dept. (CA)
- Marian Hatcher, Cook County Sheriff’s Office (IL)
- Cherice Hopkins, In Harmony, LLC (DC)
- Rebecca Johnson, Engedi Refuge (WA)
- Abigail Kuzma, Taylor University (IN)
- Shamere McKenzie, SunGate Foundation (MD)
- Nancy O’Malley, Alameda County District Attorney’s Office (CA)
- Nicholas Oakley, Center for Children and Youth Justice (WA)
- Withelma “T” Ortiz Walker Pettigrew, Survivor Advocate (HI)
- Alexandra (Sandi) Pierce, Othayonih Research (MN)
- Margie Quin, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (TN)
- Eliza Reock, YouthSpark (GA)
- Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, Sex Trafficking Intervention Research Office, Arizona State University (AZ)
- Shea Rhodes, Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation (PA)
- Linda Smith, Shared Hope International (WA)
- Melissa Snow, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (VA)
- Jen Spry, Forensic & Psychiatric RN, Survivor Leader & Consultant (PA)
- Margaret (Peg) Talburtt, Philanthropy Consultant (MI)
- Yasmin Vafa, Rights4Girls (DC)
- Kate Walker Brown, National Center for Youth Law (NCYL), (CA)
- Erin Williamson, Love 146 (CT)
While “safe harbor” is a term often used to describe statutes establishing a non-punitive response for juvenile sex trafficking victims, this represents only one component of a comprehensive state response—avoidance of a criminal justice outcome.
Since the term “safe harbor” derives from the idea of carving out an exemption for minors under the prostitution law, this can imply that minors have agency in deciding to engage in their commercial sexual exploitation and does not emphasize the critical role of access to services.
Due to the important role of language in accomplishing the fundamental paradigm shift from viewing victims as criminals to viewing victims as victims, both statutorily and in practice, we refer to the statutes that direct juvenile victims away from delinquency and into services as protective response laws.
A person who has been victimized/survived victimization. This report uses victim and survivor interchangeably to provide consistency with statutory language and cross-agency terminology. We recognize that individuals who have experienced trafficking are survivors at all stages of their abuse and recover and are not defined by their victimization.
Refers to a person who has not reached the age of 18. Juvenile should not be a bad word. The issue of juvenile sex trafficking is not a new phenomenon, but the way it is perceived has been changing rapidly due to the advocacy of leaders and advocates across the country. We have a chance to reform systems broadly because of this shift in perception. With this goal in mind, we also have the opportunity to shift public perception of the word “juvenile” as something negative to what it actually means—a young person whom we as a society have a responsibility to care for and about.*
* The Council recognizes that victimization and service needs extend beyond minors and young adults, however, for the target audience of current resources along with expertise represented the subject remains limited to this age group.