Responding to Child Victims of Human Trafficking - Delaware

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State Agency Responsibilities

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 11, § 787; Tit. 16, §§ 902; 906

Whenever a police officer has probable cause to believe that a minor has engaged in commercial sexual activity, the police officer shall make an immediate report to the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF) pursuant to title 16, § 901, et seq.

A 'multidisciplinary case' requires a comprehensive investigation by the multidisciplinary team for any child abuse or neglect report of human trafficking of a child, which if true, would constitute a criminal violation against a child or an attempt to commit any such crime, even if no crime is ever charged. In implementing the role of the DSCYF Division of Family Services (DCF) in the child protection system, DCF shall do the following:

  • Conduct an investigation on a multidisciplinary case that involves human trafficking of a child
  • Coordinate with the multidisciplinary team to secure forensic interviews and medical examinations, where applicable, and to conduct interviews while considering the criminal investigation together with DCF's statutory duties to promptly assess child safety
  • Participate as a member of the multidisciplinary team and keep the team regularly apprised of the status and findings of its investigation

In implementing law enforcement's role in the child protection system, the law enforcement agency investigating a report of child abuse or neglect shall do the following:

  • Report every case of child abuse or neglect to DCF as required by § 903 of this title
  • Notify the multidisciplinary team as to whether it will be exercising jurisdiction in the case or will be requesting another law enforcement agency to exercise such jurisdiction
  • Promptly conduct a criminal investigation for any multidisciplinary case
  • Coordinate with the multidisciplinary team to secure forensic interviews and medical examinations, where applicable, and to conduct interviews while considering the criminal investigation together with DCF's statutory duties to promptly assess child safety
  • Participate as a member of the multidisciplinary team and keep the team regularly apprised of the status and findings of its investigation

Absent good cause, all suspected child victims of human trafficking shall be interviewed in a children's advocacy center.

Training Requirement

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 11, § 787

The Human Trafficking Interagency Coordinating Council shall, among other duties, coordinate training on human trafficking prevention and victim services for State and local employees who may have recurring contact with victims or perpetrators.

Diversion From Prosecution

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 11, § 787

A minor who has engaged in commercial sexual activity is presumed to be a neglected or abused child under title 10, § 901, et seq. Whenever a police officer has probable cause to believe that a minor has engaged in commercial sexual activity, the police officer shall make an immediate report to the DSCYF pursuant to title 16, § 901, et seq.

A party to a juvenile delinquency proceeding in which a minor is charged with prostitution or loitering or an attorney guardian ad litem or court-appointed special advocate may file a motion on behalf of a minor in a juvenile delinquency proceeding seeking to stay the juvenile delinquency proceedings. The family court may consider such a motion and, in its discretion, may stay the juvenile delinquency proceeding indefinitely. As long as the minor substantially complies with the requirement of services identified by DSCYF and/or ordered by the family court, the attorney general shall proceed with the stayed charges no earlier than 1 year after the stay was imposed. Upon motion of the attorney general that the minor has not substantially complied with the requirement of services identified by DSCYF and/or ordered by the family court, the family court shall lift the stay for further proceedings in accordance with the regular course of such proceedings.

An individual charged with prostitution or loitering committed as a direct result of being a victim of human trafficking may assert as an affirmative defense that the individual is a victim of human trafficking.

Services and Supports for Victims

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 11, § 787; ; DFS Pol. & Proc. Man. Admin. Stds., § J

When a motion to stay a juvenile delinquency proceeding is granted by the family court, DSCYF and/or the family court may identify and order available specialized services for the minor that, in the opinion of DSCYF or the family court, are best suited to the needs of the juvenile.

In policy: DCF will identify, report, and provide services for suspected victims of sex trafficking for any child or youth over whom the DCF has responsibility for placement, care, or supervision regardless of their place of residence. Youth and young adults receiving independent living services are included in this population. Youth who were adopted or exited foster care through guardianship after age 16 and receiving independent living services are also in this population.

Support for Anti-Trafficking Efforts

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