Responding to Child Victims of Human Trafficking - Colorado

Date:

State Agency Responsibilities

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-3-308(c); 19-3-317; Code of Regs. Tit. 12, § 7.303.4

Upon the receipt of a report of child maltreatment, if the county department assessment concludes that a child has been subjected to human trafficking of a minor for sexual servitude or commercial sexual exploitation of a child, it shall, when necessary and appropriate, immediately offer social services to the child who is the subject of the report and to his or her family, and it may file a petition in the juvenile court or the district court with juvenile jurisdiction on behalf of such child. If, at any time after the commencement of an investigation, the county department has reasonable cause to suspect that the child or any other child under the same care is a victim of human trafficking, the county department shall notify the local law enforcement agency as soon as it is reasonably practicable to do so.

If immediate removal is necessary to protect the child or other children under the same care from further abuse, the child or children may be placed in protective custody in accordance with §§ 19-3-401(1)(a) and 19-3-405. In instances of third-party abuse or neglect as it relates to human trafficking, a county department of human or social services may, but is not required to, interview the person alleged to be responsible for the abuse or neglect or prepare an investigative report. If a county department elects to interview the third-party individual, it shall first confer with its local law enforcement agency.

On and after January 1, 2017, pursuant to the Federal Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (P.L. 113-183), the Department of Human Services and each county department shall implement a uniform screening tool that includes questions that are intended to identify children who are victims of human trafficking of a minor for sexual servitude or commercial sexual exploitation of a child or who are at risk of being such victims.

In regulation: When the county department has reason to believe a child is or is at risk of being a victim of sex trafficking, the county department shall do the following:

  • Screen the child for risk of sex trafficking using a State-approved sex trafficking screen
  • Determine service needs
  • Document the details of the screen, assessment, and services in the State automated case management system
  • Report immediately, and no later than 24 hours from when the county department becomes aware, to the local law enforcement agency
  • Document the details of the report to law enforcement in the State automated case management system

If a child who is in the legal custody of the county department is missing, then the county department shall do the following:

  • Report immediately and no later than 24 hours from when the county department receives notification that the child is missing to the local law enforcement agency and to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
  • Make reasonable efforts to locate a child who is missing and document those efforts a minimum of once per month in the State automated case management system
  • Upon the return of the child, make reasonable efforts to complete the following activities and document those efforts in the State automated case management system:
    • Determine the primary factors that contributed to the child being missing
    • Determine the child's experiences while missing, including conducting a sex trafficking screen to determine if the child is a possible sex trafficking victim
    • Respond to the factors identified above in current and subsequent services

Training Requirement

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Diversion From Prosecution

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 18-7-201.3

A person charged with prostitution, for an offense committed on or after July 1, 2015, if the offense was committed as a direct result of being a victim of human trafficking, may assert as an affirmative defense that he or she is a victim of human trafficking. To assert the affirmative defense, the person charged with the offense must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she was a victim of human trafficking at the time of the offense. An official determination or documentation is not required to assert an affirmative defense, but official documentation from a Federal, State, local, or Tribal government agency indicating that the defendant was a victim at the time of the offense creates a presumption that his or her participation in the offense was a direct result of being a victim.

Services and Supports for Victims

Citation: Code of Regs. Tit. 12, § 7.303.14

Core services programs may include any of the following elements of service:

  • Collateral services that teach families to work with community agencies such as health-care services, mental health treatment services, substance abuse treatment services, job training, information and referral services, advocacy groups, housing assistance agencies, and schools
  • Concrete services that provide concentrated assistance in the development and enhancement of parenting skills, stress reduction, problem solving, communication skills, budget and household management, and recreational activities
  • Crisis intervention services that include phone or in-home counseling, medical services, respite, or other interventions available on a 24-hour basis
  • Diagnostic and treatment-planning services that include various evaluations of the child and family to facilitate the development of the family services plan and the move of the child to a permanent placement
  • Hard services that arrange the purchase of services or distribution of cash payments for the following:
    • Housing funds, including rent, repairs, utilities, or rent deposits
    • Food or money for food
    • Clothing
    • Transportation, including fares, auto repair, auto fuel, auto insurance, or bus passes
    • Uncovered medical or dental expenses
    • Appliances, furniture
    • Emergency shelter
    • Employment-related expenses, such as tools or dues
  • Therapeutic services that include interactive parenting, family therapy, support groups, educational groups, problem-solving methods, communication skills, and parent-child conflict management

Support for Anti-Trafficking Efforts

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 18-3-505

There is created in the Department of Public Safety the Colorado Human Trafficking Council. The purpose of the council is to bring together leadership from community-based and statewide anti-trafficking efforts, to build and enhance collaboration among communities and counties within the State, to establish and improve comprehensive services for victims and survivors of human trafficking, to assist in the successful prosecution of human traffickers, and to help prevent human trafficking in Colorado.

The council shall meet at least four times each year and shall carry out the following duties:

  • On or before January 1, 2016, make recommendations to the judiciary committees of the house of representatives and senate, or any successor committees, concerning the following:
    • Whether the general assembly should establish standards and a process for the certification of organizations that provide services to victims of human trafficking
    • Whether the general assembly should establish a grant program for organizations that provide services to victims of human trafficking, including consideration of how such a grant program may be funded
    • Whether the general assembly should enact legislation concerning the following:
      • The prosecution of or granting of immunity to a child victim of commercial sexual exploitation for offenses related to that exploitation
      • The creation of other legal protections, including statutory defenses for child victims of commercial sexual exploitation for offenses related to that exploitation and the creation of any necessary changes to title 19 of the revised statutes to implement those legal protections or defenses
      • Standards, guidelines, or mandates regarding the appropriate assessment, placement, and treatment of child victims of commercial sexual exploitation through title 19, including, but not limited to, the use of locked placement
  • Develop an implementation plan for a public awareness campaign to educate the public about human trafficking and place victims services contact information in places where victims of human trafficking are likely to see it
  • Develop training standards and curricula for organizations that provide assistance to victims of human trafficking, for persons who work in or who frequent places where human trafficking victims are likely to appear, and for law enforcement agencies
  • Identify best practices for the prevention of human trafficking, particularly for the prevention of child sex trafficking
  • Collect data relating to the prevalence of, and the efforts of law enforcement to combat, human trafficking in Colorado

This section is repealed, effective September 1, 2019. Before repeal, the Department of Regulatory Agencies shall review the council pursuant to § 2-3-1203.