The following issue briefs provide an in-depth discussion of the policy goals behind each component measured by the Report Cards on Child & Youth Sex Trafficking; each includes drafting considerations as well as links to related issues and supporting resources. Click the issue number to view the issue brief.
Policy Issue 1: Criminal Provisions
1.1 The child sex trafficking law is expressly applicable to buyers of commercial sex with any minor under 18.
1.2 Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) laws specifically criminalize purchasing or soliciting commercial sex with any minor under 18.
1.3 Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) laws apply to traffickers and protect all minors under 18.
1.4 Mistake of age is not an available defense under sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) laws.
1.5 Use of a law enforcement decoy is not an available defense under sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) laws.
1.6 The trafficking law expressly prohibits financially benefiting from assisting or enabling child sex trafficking.
1.7 State law mandates that financial penalties are levied on sex trafficking and CSEC offenders and are directed to a victim services fund.
Policy Issue 2: Identification and Response to Victims
2.1 The definition of child sex trafficking victim in the criminal code includes all commercially sexually exploited children without requiring third party control.
2.2 State law requires child welfare to develop policy guidance on responding to foreign national children.
2.3 State law mandates child welfare agencies to conduct trauma-informed CSEC screening for children at risk of sex trafficking.
2.4 State law mandates juvenile justice agencies to conduct trauma-informed CSEC screening of children at risk of sex trafficking.
2.5 State law prohibits the criminalization of minors under 18 for prostitution offenses.
2.6 State law prohibits the criminalization of child sex trafficking victims for status offenses, and misdemeanor and non-violent felony offenses committed as a result of their trafficking victimization.
2.7 State law prohibits the criminalization of child sex trafficking victims for sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation offenses, including accomplice and co-conspirator liability committed as a result of their trafficking victimization.
2.8 State law provides child sex trafficking victims with an affirmative defense to violent felonies committed as a result of their trafficking victimization.
2.9 Juvenile court jurisdiction extends to all minors under 18 charged with a law violation.
2.10 State law defines child sex trafficking as a form of abuse for purposes of child welfare involvement.
2.11 State law clearly defines child welfare’s role in responding to non-familial child sex trafficking through an alternative specialized response that does not hinge on caregiver fault.
Policy Issue 3: Continuum of Care
3.1 State law provides child sex trafficking victims with access to specialized services through a non-punitive system.
3.2 State law provides for a survivor-centered multi-disciplinary team response to child sex trafficking cases.
3.3 State law requires specialized services for identified sex-trafficked children and youth in the juvenile justice system.
3.4 State law extends child welfare protections to transition-age youth.
3.5 State funding is appropriated to support specialized services and a continuum of care for sex trafficked children regardless of system involvement.
3.6 State funding is appropriated to support child-serving agencies with providing specialized services and a continuum of care for sex trafficked children.
Policy Issue 4: Access to Justice for Trafficking Survivors
4.1 Civil orders of protection are specifically available to trafficking victims.
4.2 Ineligibility factors for crime victims’ compensation do not prevent victims of child sex trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) from accessing compensation.
4.3 Sex trafficked children and youth may vacate delinquency adjudications and criminal convictions for offenses arising from trafficking victimization without a waiting period.
4.4 State law mandates restitution for child sex trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), and child sexual abuse material (CSAM) offenses.
4.5 State law provides child sex trafficking victims with a trafficking-specific civil remedy.
4.6 Statutes of limitation for criminal and civil actions for child sex trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) offenses are eliminated to allow prosecutors and victims a realistic opportunity to pursue criminal action and legal remedies.
Policy Issue 5: Tools for a Victim-Centered Criminal Justice Response
5.1 State law provides a child sex trafficking-specific hearsay exception that applies to non-testimonial evidence to reduce reliance on victim testimony.
5.2 State law allows child sex trafficking victims to testify by closed-circuit television regardless of the prosecuted offense.
5.3 Child sex trafficking victims have the right to a victim advocate at all stages of the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrator(s).
5.4 State law provides for privileged communications between caseworkers and child sex trafficking victims.
Policy Issue 6: Prevention and Training
6.1 State law mandates statewide training for child welfare agencies on identification and response to child sex trafficking.
6.2 State law mandates statewide training for juvenile justice agencies on identification and response to child sex trafficking.
6.3 State law mandates trafficking-specific training on victim-centered investigations for law enforcement.
6.4 State law mandates trafficking-specific training on victim-centered investigations and prosecutions for prosecutors.
6.5 State law mandates child sex trafficking training for school personnel.
6.6 State law mandates child sex trafficking prevention education in schools.
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For over 20 years, Shared Hope has been at the forefront of groundbreaking research related to child and youth sex trafficking in the U.S. Our research and resulting resources support the development of vital policies and promising practices for identifying and providing appropriate responses to survivors.
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