California is attempting to switch to a victim-centered approach for its sexually trafficked youngsters. But despite the passage of two important and well-intentioned new laws in the last two years, both of which affect youth who have been sexually exploited, change has not come easily or quickly.
The initial goals for those who work with trafficked youngsters are in many ways heartbreakingly basic, said Diane Iglesias, senior deputy director of the state Department of Children and Family Services. After identifying the affected young people and getting them into a support network, she said, workers hope to persuade their traumatized charges not to run away from their safe housing and back to their pimps who, while abusive, are at least familiar. Only once the cycle of running away is broken, she said, can the trafficked young people embrace treatment.
“The challenging thing to understand is where on a continuum, from group home, to remote location, to locked up, does this child need to be,” she said.
[For more on this story by Alana Victor, go to http://jjie.org/2017/10/30/cal...sex-trafficked-kids/]