Child Trafficking

Child Trafficking August 2011

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges state, tribal, and territorial legislatures to aid minors who are victims of human trafficking by:

  1. Permitting their immediate protective custody as dependent children in suitable residential environments and,except in extreme and compelling circumstances, not chargingchildren under the age of 18 with the crimes of engaging in prostitution or soliciting themselves, loitering with the intent to engage in prostitution, or status offenses that are incident to their trafficking situation;
  2. Amending juvenile dependency laws by:
    1. Making suspicion of trafficking victim status a basis for mandated reporting to child protective services agencies and requiring their services, for both citizen and noncitizen children, through specialized child trafficking victim units; and
    2. Requiring screening and risk assessment for trafficking victimization whenever a youth enters a runaway or homeless youth facility, juvenile justice system, or child welfare agency custody;
  3. Establishing programs of specialized short and long term safe housing, residential care facilities, and other services for prompt access by law enforcement, public health officials, and child protective services;
  4. Authorizing courts to issue and enforce protective orders prohibiting harassment or intimidation of child trafficking victims; and
  5. Providing a civil cause of action for child victims to receive compensation and services.

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges state, tribal, territorial and local governments to ensure:

  1. Law enforcement, child protective services, and family and juvenile court training to address identification and risk assessment of child trafficking victims and the process of obtaining aid for the victims;
  2. Prompt health, mental health, substance abuse treatment, educational and vocational training, residential care, and other victim services;
  3. Those providing health, mental health, substance abuse treatment, education and vocational training, residential care, and other victim services report aggregate data on victims served to a designated state agency;
  4. When a child is missing from foster care or residential placement, immediate notification to federal, state, and local law enforcement, with annual aggregate reporting of this data; and
  5. Special attention in the development of programs to provide services for the unique needs of girls, boys, and gay and transgendered youth.

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges Congress to enact legislation that:

  1. Enhances state, tribal, territorial, and local efforts to combat trafficking of minor children through supporting legal services to victims, shelter and rehabilitative care, and prosecution of adults who are trafficking in minor children; and
  2. Helps assure all noncitizen children who have been exploited for labor, services or commercial sex acts are properly identified as “victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons” as specifically authorized in federal law and:
    1. Permits their immediate protective custody as dependent children in suitable residential environments and,except in extreme and compelling circumstances, not chargingchildren under the age of 18 with the crimes of engaging in prostitution or soliciting themselves, loitering with the intent to engage in prostitution, or status offenses that are incident to their trafficking situation;
    2. Mandates, and financially supports, data collection and reporting on their immigration relief eligibility and status;
    3. Requires their prompt referral to local child protective services and other suitable provider(s) for services and support, identification of immigration relief options, and the right to communicate promptly with their national consulate;
    4. Reimburses government entities, pursuant to existing authorization granted in federal law, for foster care costs related to services to children who are victims of human trafficking; and
    5. Assures that their cross-border repatriation should only be accomplished through application of best practices developed by experts.

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Associationurges the education of lawyers, judges and other justice system professionals regarding the legal issues pertaining to the trafficking of minor children, andurges state, tribal, and territorial legislatures, andbar associations,to improve laws addressing the trafficking of children, includingthe development and adoptionofmodel or uniform anti-trafficking laws.

These represent only those ABA Policy Resolutions in which the Commission on Youth at Risk was the principal sponsor.

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