Punishing commercially sexually exploited minors creates social and legal contradictions that undermine the fight against juvenile sex trafficking— further harming victims and hindering a needed shift in cultural attitudes. This campaign is committed to developing protective responses and avenues to connect youth to trauma informed services and eliminating the criminalization of juveniles for the crimes committed against them.
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We have children who have been victimized, raped- constantly, night after night, and then they come in contact with law enforcement and they’re arrested . . . that is backwards. -Survivor
Almost half the states
can still criminalize children for prostitution.
Our Campaign Goal
to enact non-punitive responses to child sex trafficking victims in every state.
What we do to children in this country is very unfortunate and they pay the price for what has happened to them. The buyers get to go home and live normal lives and continue in their marriages, in their jobs and careers, and are never affected by this. But while they’re home, you have a child sitting in a jail cell. And where’s the justice in that? -Survivor
THE REPORT | SEEKING JUSTICE
Seeking Justice: Legal approaches to eliminate criminal liability for child sex trafficking victims. Seeking Justice is a comprehensive resource for understanding the various statutory approaches states have taken to eliminate a minor’s criminal liability for prostitution and other offenses related to their victimization. This report also examines the importance of incorporating a trauma-informed service response.
Behind everything that is put on the face of a trafficking survivor, what they are really like is human. When you strip everything down, they’re not a bad person, they’re not a perpetrator, they’re not a delinquent. They are not somebody who has chosen this life. They are a child and they have had experiences that no child should ever have. -Survivor
Use the following research and resources from Shared Hope’s Center for Justice & Advocacy to understand the issue of non-criminalization and the need for protective responses for juvenile sex trafficking victims.
Non-Criminalization State Law Survey
(2018) This survey identifies state-by-state the enactment of non-criminalization laws, providing a snapshot of the nation overall in a chart.
(2016) A protective response model to juvenile sex trafficking encompasses state and federal statutes, system protocol and implementation, access to available service and community resources, and outcome measurements to evaluate effectiveness in identifying, responding to, and preventing further harm.
(2018) This issue brief provides a more comprehensive explanation of the non-criminalization component of the Protected Innocence Challenge. It highlights state statutes that align with the concept of the issue.