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Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

As a result of ICAN’s expertise and ongoing efforts to protect children, we were asked by Debbie Deem, Victim Specialist with the FBI, to become involved in efforts to address an area of growing concern, the commercial sexual exploitation of children. ICAN gathered together experts in multiple fields to learn more and formed a new ICAN Task Force to examine the multiple inter-agency issues surrounding both the commercial sexual exploitation of children and cyber crimes.

ICAN has been focused on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) since the beginning of 2008. ICAN’s efforts brought the issues of Human Trafficking and Technology-Facilitated Crimes to the forefront, while providing the venue and support for public and private stakeholders to address and make recommendations for institutional changes and implementation.

Representatives from agencies throughout the County and State have participated in ICAN’s efforts to identify this population, determine what type of help they need and how best to provide them with the needed services. At the beginning of ICAN’s efforts, the only services available to CSEC youth were primarily offered through the Probation Department, which meant that these youth were treated as juvenile delinquents, rather than as the victims that they are. The Probation Department had taken the lead in developing more appropriate services for this population and set up a separate unit in the Probation Department to deal specifically with these youth. Subsequently, there was a Motion by the Board of Supervisors that directed DCFS to create its own Task Force to see how DCFS could better respond to this issue. This Task Force sponsored legislation, which created a separate Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) for trafficked minors within Juvenile Court jurisdiction. The County moved in the direction of having these victims served under the Child Protection System, not the Juvenile Justice System.

ICAN's CSEC Task Force has sponsored trainings to enhance our capacity to provide services to victims within LA County. These trainings have focused on further identifying the needs of this population and best-practice responses to help these youth. Training topics have included: “Supporting Victims of Child Abuse Images and Other Technology Facilitated Sexual Exploitation: Creating a More Effective Safety Net in Los Angeles County;” “Effective Strategies in Interviewing and Interventions with Adolescent Victims of Domestic Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation;” “Raising Awareness and Building on Opportunities to Combat Child Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation;” sextortion and technology facilitated crimes. Without my Consent: Victims of Internet Facilitated Sex Crimes: Advocacy, Protection and Legal Remedies;” CSEC and Human Trafficking: A Collaborative Approach;” and “Saving Our Boys to Save Out Girls.”