Topic - Child Sex Trafficking
In his Bicentennial Blueprint, Governor Greg Abbott called for a statewide effort to help victims of child sex trafficking. The 84th Legislature responded by passing HB 10 and HB 1446, which established the Governor’s Child Sex Trafficking Team (CSTT).The Legislature also appropriated $5.67 million to support CSTT’s work, the majority of which will be used to fund victim services.
Our approach is based on best and promising practices from around the country, and is child-centered, trauma-informed, collaborative, and continuously improving.
Our mission is to:
- Protect children by building their awareness of and resilience to child exploitation and curbing demand for child sex trafficking.
- Recognize child sex trafficking in all its forms by raising public awareness.
- Recover survivors through concerted system efforts.
- Restore survivors through immediate and long-term services and supports they need to recover.
- Bring justice for survivors by holding traffickers, buyers, and those who profit from trafficking accountable.
The approach is child-centered, collaborative, and continuously improving. In 2016, we worked to:
- study the scope of child sex trafficking in Texas;
- identify gaps in victims services and law enforcement response and the best and promising practices from around the country to fill those;
- expand existing therapeutic and trauma-informed services for victims of trafficking; and
- train law enforcement and the child welfare system on identifying and addressing child exploitation.
As we move forward, CJD will focus on concurrent statewide and regional strategies to combat child sex trafficking and to serve its victims.
Working statewide to protect, recognize, and bring justice for victims
Our strategies to protect, recognize, and bring justice are far-reaching and largely statewide:
- Lead statewide prevention strategies, including educating and building resilience in vulnerable youth and stopping those who would engage in child sex trafficking.
- Research child sex trafficking, collect data, share findings, and use knowledge to inform strategies and foster use of accurate statistics and best and promising practices.
- Increase awareness and reporting of child sex trafficking. Provide effective assessment tools, training and resources to youth-serving agencies to screen and identify trafficked children.
- Improve federal, state, and local policies to combat child sex trafficking.
- Provide support and training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges to enhance investigations and prosecutions. Provide customized training to targeted audiences.
Working regionally to develop models to recover and restore survivors
In fiscal year 2017, CSTT will begin building regional models of survivor care, starting in Houston and North Texas. These are the two largest urban areas with the most trafficking activity and coordinated community responses to child sex trafficking. We will prioritize subsequent regions based on both need and readiness. CSTT will continue to work with anti-trafficking taskforces and coalitions in all regions to fill known gaps and improve responses in preparation for new regional models.
Because each region is so diverse in stakeholders, resources, and unmet needs, CSTT will develop and support regional models of survivor care. Regions will be part of a statewide network of services available to all survivors, regardless of region of origin.
Each model will provide a continuum of care, from immediate recovery to long-term restorative services. Regional models will include:
- public and private stakeholders;
- multi-disciplinary teams and protocols;
- community-based case managers; and
- regional coordinators to ensure ongoing support, collaboration, accountability, and continuous quality improvement.
To meet the diverse and urgent needs of all of Texas’ child victims, CSTT will build upon collaborative efforts within taskforces and coalitions by investing in best and promising practices in survivor recovery and restoration.
Eligible Funding Areas
CJD is focusing on funding to increase the capacity of areas of the state, where existing task forces are already working to prevent child sex trafficking and to provide wrap-around care for survivors.
For fuller information about eligible funding areas, to learn more, or to review current funding opportunities, see eGrants for current opportunities.