August 5, 2013.
Human sexual trafficking.
It doesn’t happen in your town. Doesn’t happen on your streets, on your time, on your watch.
That’s the mindset most of us have. Yet the current of human sexual trafficking runs through many of our streets; streets we travel on a regular basis. It runs through our communities and neighborhoods, and all too often, its victims are young children.
Many of these young victims of human sexual trafficking are not new to abuse: physical, psychological, sexual. Many have lived in poverty, with unaddressed trauma and low self-esteem resulting from their environment and from those individuals in their immediate circle. They are among the most vulnerable in our communities and the sexual predator/pimp/facilitator sees this quickly and acts swiftly, making these young children depend on, rely on and trust them, while the child is essentially enslaved.
In Miami-Dade County, we are aware of the horrific prevalence of this crime. We know it is on our streets, in our communities. We are working diligently to combat the issue and end the vicious cycle of abuse and enslavement. It is a priority. For more on the Miami-Dade Grand Jury findings, recommendations and efforts to put an end to these tragic stories, read on here. Below is a brief summary of their recommendations:
- We RECOMMEND that the police departments that have dedicated full-time officers to this effort at the SAO continue to do so, and, if budgets will allow, assign more officers to this fight.
- We RECOMMEND that the Awareness Campaign be launched as soon as practical.
- We RECOMMEND that immediately after implementation of the Public Awareness Campaign, the Policy Institute launch its “Million Eyes Campaign.”
- We RECOMMEND that police departments assess current investigative methods, provide training on those and additional methods and further enhance their use of innovative investigative techniques, including the use of digital evidence investigation.
- We RECOMMEND that the Task Force, Policy Institute and State Legislature work together to create a system of protection for DCSEC similar to that used to protect victims of domestic violence.
- We RECOMMEND that a risk assessment requirement be put in place prior to assignment to a safe house.
- Once that requirement is put in place, we RECOMMEND that the two planned safe houses be opened as soon as possible.
- We RECOMMEND that legislation be proposed and enacted that penalizes those who improperly disclose the location of any foster home safe house or group home.
- We RECOMMEND that legislation be proposed and enacted that penalizes those who intimidate or threaten foster home parents, safe house staff or group home staff.
- We RECOMMEND that DCF continue the pilot program of Specialized Therapeutic Foster Homes for Domestic Commercially Sexually Exploited Children.
- Furthermore, we RECOMMEND that DCF continue to recruit Foster Parents to care for Domestic Commercially Sexually Exploited Children.
- We RECOMMEND that the Policy Institute take up the issue with all the stakeholders and draft new legislation for th Case and Protection of Domestic Commercially Sexually Exploited Children.
- We emphatically RECOMMEND that a definitive study by a stellar and objective institution be commissioned as soon as possible to study and determine the evidence-based best practices for the treatment and care of Domestic Sex Trafficking Victims and Domestic Sexually Exploited Children.
If you have information, are a victim or parent or know someone involved in human sexual trafficking, please contact the State Attorney General’s Office Hotline for Human Sexual Trafficking on 305.350.5567.