“What you always do before you make a decision is consult. The best public policy is made when you are listening to people who are going to be impacted. Then, once a policy is determined, you call on them to help you sell it.”
— Elizabeth Dole

News - 04 Dec 2022

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Child Human Trafficking Influx in the USA:
Addressing the recent nationwide operations to combat child and sex trafficking and analyzing the effects that current policy has in search and rescue efforts

Key Speakers

Professor Mollie Gordon, Medical Director at the Anti-Human Trafficking Program
Carrie Grace, Executive Director at Freedom Shield Foundation
Timothy Palmbach, Professor at University of New Haven's Center for Forensic Investigation of Trafficking in Persons
Bill Woolf, Former Director of Human Trafficking Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice
Yasmin Vafa, Co-founder and Executive Director of Rights4Girls; Human rights attorney and advocate
Burke Bryant, Founder & President of the Humanitarian Aid and Rescue Project (HARP Rescue) and HALO GROUP
Staca Shehan, Vice President, Analytical Services Division National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

This event was held on Thursday, October 13th 2022.

Overview

Operation Cross Country is a recent national human trafficking raid that located and recovered over 200 victims, most of them being children, just within the first two weeks of August. Chief Jose Perez, who oversees violent crime investigations in the FBI, said that “the initiative really just takes a concentrated period of time where we’re just focused on the problem of child sex trafficking.” (fbi.gov) By identifying certain areas that the FBI knows sex trafficking is prevalent, they are able proceed using their resources and local partners to rescue the victims from these places. What exactly does child trafficking entail, who is a part of it and what does it mean to be a victim? According to the American Bar Association, “child trafficking cases can occur in metropolitan areas, wealthy suburbs, and rural areas. Traffickers can be family members, acquaintances, intimate partners, or strangers. Child trafficking investigations have occurred in every state. Child trafficking cases may be single-victim cases, or they may involve multiple victims. Sometimes, multiple-victim cases involve groups of victims that include both minors and adults.” (ABA) As this highlights, traffickers can be close to the victims, making them an even more vulnerable and high-risk population in society.

An even more staggering statistic is the fact that child trafficking continues to increase over the years, taking place in all states of the country. According to UNICEF, “Natural Human Trafficking Hotline statistics show a 25% jump in human trafficking cases from 2017 to 2018. This includes sex and labor trafficking.” (UNICEF) While there is a common perception that human trafficking involves mostly undocumented or foreign immigrants, the fact of the matter is that the majority of victims are U.S. citizens. Victims are also scouted and sold through online platforms and URLs. As UNICEF depicts, “92% of all child sexual abuse URLs are hosted by 5 countries in the world, one of which is the US.” (UNICEF) According to Liberate Children, the average age of child victims is between 12 and 14 years old, with kids as young as 3 being rescued as well. “It is hard to imagine how anyone could stomach being involved with this, but it is a fact. Most children who are trafficked for sex work are between the ages of 12 and 14 years old. A significant percentage of these children are runaways who were abused sexually at younger ages.” (Liberate Children)

To be clear, child trafficking, and any trafficking in general, does not occur in underground basements which are hidden from the public eye. “Human trafficking cases have been reported and prosecuted in industries including restaurants, cleaning services, construction, factories, and more.” (Polaris Project) Seeing that this phenomenon is occurring in such common and frequented venues, why is children trafficking so prevalent, and increasing with time? Let’s take a closer look at who the perpetrators are. According to the Polaris Project, traffickers come from diverse backgrounds and fields. “Some use their privilege, wealth, and power as a means of control while others experience the same socio-economic oppression as their victims. They include individuals, business owners, members of a gang or network, parents or family members of victims, intimate partners, owners of farms or restaurants, and powerful corporate executives and government representatives.” (Polaris Project) Using distinct control tactics, these perpetrators are able to physically and emotionally abuse and threat victims to follow their orders and stay with them.

This symposium seeks to provide a space for policymakers, academics, researchers, victims, law enforcements and families to critically analyze the issues underlying child human trafficking, assess the frequency and statistics, as well as evaluate the recent Operation Cross Country raids and its results. Additionally, this discussion will allow space to examine current policy solutions in place and what leaders can do to better stop the frequency of child trafficking and help victims once they are rescued.

Program

  • Assess the statistics of recent trends and patterns in child human trafficking across the United States, with special focus on the recent Operation Cross Country raids.
  • Evaluate who is at risk of child trafficking, why children are trafficked and what happens to them once a perpetrator gains access to them.
  • Analyze the frequency of children sex trafficking within the United States context and the emotional/mental impact this has on their development.
  • Discuss whether the COVID-19 pandemic altered the rate of child and sex trafficking, increasing or decreasing the frequency of this phenomenon.
  • Analyze the role that US policy plays in not only rescuing victims but searching for traffickers and condemning their actions.
  • Evaluate the role that technology, the internet, and businesses play in the transfer of data and information in human trafficking.
  • Evaluate the part that organizations and NGO’s play in helping victims recover emotionally and physically once they are rescued from these said conditions.
  • Discuss how communities, especially those at greater risk, can protect their society and offer support to prevent child and sex trafficking from taking place.

Who Should Attend?

 

  • Anti-Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Teams
  • Border Force
  • Immigration and US Visa Teams
  • Vulnerable Persons Coordinators
  • Missing Persons Units
  • HARP Organization and HALO Group
  • Rape and Sexual Assault Support Centers and Specialists
  • Social Workers and Social Services Officers
  • Housing Officers
  • Police Service
  • Serious and Organized Crime Units
  • Port and Airport Authorities
  • Safeguarding Adults Teams
  • Health Service Professionals
  • Sexual Health Practitioners
  • Probation Officers
  • Compliance Officers
  • Mental Health Practitioners
  • Local Safeguarding Children Boards
  • Child Protection and Looked-After Children Teams
  • Victim Support Representatives
  • Community Cohesion and Development Organizations
  • Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships
  • Local Criminal Justice Boards
  • Community Safety Teams
  • Neighborhood Policing Teams
  • Sheltered Housing Associations
  • Criminal Justice Practitioners
  • Judges and Magistrates
  • Legal Professionals
  • Local Authority Officers and Councilors
  • Equality and Diversity Practitioners
  • Third Sector Practitioners
  • Academics and Researchers
  • Children psychologists and therapists
This event was held on Thursday, October 13th 2022.

Sponsorship and Exhibition Opportunities

If you’re interested in promoting your company, products and/or services at our events, please click here to enter your details and we will contact you directly. Alternatively, please call
+1424 258 9080 for more information.

How to Book

+1424 258 9080
bookings.at.publicpolicyexchange.com