New Detention Protocol for Youth Sex-Trafficking Victims Unveiled In March, the Probation Department officially rolled out a new protocol designed to provide specialized services to detained youth identified as victims of sex trafficking. The L.A. County Detention Interagency Identification and Response Protocol for Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) and Youth addresses a disturbing finding since the practice of arresting children for prostitution ended in 2016. Statistics showed a sharp increase in the number of girls and boys in custody for other offenses who disclosed their victimization by sex traffickers. More than 500 detained youth have made the personal disclosure to probation officers since 2014. The new protocol has received high praise from 2nd District County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and 5th District County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “The Detention Interagency Identification and Response Protocol for CSEC represents the next step in an aggressive reform to decriminalize youth who are victims,” Ridley- Thomas emphasized. “There is no such thing as a child prostitute…this protocol helps to send out the fundamental message that our youth are not for sale.” “I’m appreciative of the collaborative effort to ensure that our county will not stand by while our youth are robbed of their childhoods, safety and peace of mind,” said Supervisor Barger. “We are saying ‘Enough is enough.’ With the help of our Probation Department, we will continue our efforts to make sure that no child is subjected to the trauma and injustice of commercial sexual exploitation. Children who are sexually exploited are victims of child abuse and should not be criminalized for what they have experienced.” A foundation of strong collaborative partnerships among the Departments of Probation, Children and Family Services, Health Services, Mental Health, and Public Health; the County Office of Education; and the National Center for Youth Law developed the protocol. It builds upon previous efforts by outlining the roles and responsibilities of agencies serving youth detained in Probation juvenile correctional facilities. The Probation Department has established a specialized unit, the Child Trafficking Unit, which has transformed the way we engage and interact with the youth in our custody,” said L.A. County Chief Probation Officer Terri L. McDonald. “Under the new protocol, children in our juvenile halls and camps who have informed us that they had been sexually exploited will receive specialized support and services provided by Probation and from our partner agencies who join us in the shared goal of caring for these youths.” “The Probation Department has established a specialized unit, the Child Trafficking Unit, which has transformed the way we engage and interact with the youth in our custody.” Terri L. McDonald L.A. County Chief Probation Officer What We Know About Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth in Detention 526 526 youth in detention have disclosed exploitation since 2014 As ARRESTS of children for prostitution dropped, DISCLOSURES of exploitation increased RELATIONSHIPS ARE EVERYTHING Youth disclose exploitation to well-trained staff across all agencies *Data through 2018 *Data through June 30, 2016 230 31 37 2009 2014 2016 2019 179 Probation staff Public Health/ Education Mental Health staff Health staff 1% 477 FEMALE (91%) 37 MALE (7%) 12 TRANS (2%) 41% 26% 32% DISCLOSURES IN JUVENILE HALL: EXPLOITATION EFFECTS ALL YOUTH JUVENILE SERVICES JUVENILE SERVICES The Probation Department The Probation Department 2 3