Open Doors: A Statewide Network for Victims of Sex Trafficking
Human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking, is a prominent issue facing Florida. The Sunshine State ranks third in calls received by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, behind only California and Texas. In response, in 2012, Florida passed landmark legislation, the Florida Safe Harbor Act, which specified that sex trafficked children be treated as dependent children needing therapeutic services, rather than as juvenile delinquents.
The Safe Harbor Act was a remarkable step, but its implementation has lacked continuity of care and resources to provide adequate services to victims. Other states have initiated programs to accurately identify victims and provide crucial services such as Minnesota’s No Wrong Door program, Massachusetts’ survivor-led mentoring model called “My Life My Choice Services” and Georgia’s Georgia Cares Program.
Dr. Lawanda Ravoira, CEO of Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center and Roy Miller, President of The Children’s Campaign envisioned and developed Open Doors: A Statewide Network for Sex Trafficked Children. The Open Doors Network will utilize a public-private partnership approach and will be administered by a single contract non-profit organization, Voices for Florida.
Open Doors places newly-rescued sex trafficked victims in the care of a team of professionals, including a highly trained survivor-mentor and regional advocates, who work in concert with law enforcement and community partners at every entry point where a victim is identified. In general, public policies need to continue the shift away from blame, shame, discrimination and isolation experienced by victims toward a model that offers validation, support, acceptance and relational safety.
Read the full policy brief as a PDF here
- Victims or Criminals? The Intricacies of Dealings with Juvenile Victims of Sex Trafficking and Why the Distinction Matters – Krystle M. Fernandez
Overview of domestic minor sex trafficking that suggests that states can provide the best chance of recovery for traumatized victims of trafficking by decriminalizing minor prostitution and ensuring that court advocates are properly trained.
- National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) Data Breakdown: Overview of Incoming Signals– National Human Trafficking Resource Center
Review of the calls and emails to the trafficking resource center, where Florida had the third highest amount of calls.
- Treating The Hidden Wounds: Trauma Treatment And Mental Health Recovery For Victims Of Human Trafficking– Heather J. Clawson, Ph.D., Amy Salomon, Ph.D. and Lisa Goldblatt Grace, LICSW, MPH
In addition to a lack of appropriate resources, sex trafficking victims face difficulty trusting service providers due to the complex trauma that they have experienced.
- Our Impact– Georgia Cares
Impact of a similar sex trafficking program that operates in Georgia that has drastically reduced sentencing of trafficking victims and has connected them with the services necessary to recover.
- Letting Kids Be Kids: Employing a Developmental Model in the Study of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking– Hadar S. Schwartz
Article that details the developmental struggles of early adolescents who are particularly vulnerable to adults seeking to exploit them.
Disclaimer: These links to third-party websites are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. They do not constitute an endorsement or approval by The Children’s Campaign or its affiliate organizations and partners.
Special thanks to Voices for Florida, the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, Selah Freedom, Children’s Home Society, and The Children’s Campaign for authoring the policy brief featured in this Candidate Connection.