Responding to Child Victims of Human Trafficking - District of Columbia

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State Agency Responsibilities

Citation: D.C. Code § 4-1303.03e; Admin. Iss. CFSA-17-1

All children in the custody of the Child and Family Services Agency shall, to the extent that it is not inconsistent with a court order, receive a behavioral health screening and, if necessary, a behavioral health assessment within 30 days of initial contact with the agency or a placement disruption. As part of the behavioral health screening, the agency shall identify children who are victims of, or who may be at risk of becoming victims of, sex trafficking of children under § 22-1834.

The agency shall connect all children who are assessed as being in need of behavioral health care to an appropriate behavioral health service.

In policy: Identification of a child who has been sex trafficked may occur at any stage of an agency case or involvement. For reports of commercial sexual exploitation/sex trafficking, the hotline worker receives and records the information and, in consultation with the supervisor, determines the direction of the referral, as follows:

  • If the legal caregiver or other member of the household is identified as the alleged perpetrator, then the report is entered into the record as a child abuse/neglect referral 'sexual exploitation of a child by a caregiver.' Child protective services will conduct a joint investigation with the police department consistent with agency policy and practice.
  • If the alleged perpetrator is not the parent, guardian, legal custodian, or other adult member of the household, the report will be entered into the record as 'commercial sexual exploitation of children (sex trafficking of minors)' and immediately referred to the police department.

Training Requirement

Citation: D.C. Code § 22-1842

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA), and the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) shall provide training on human trafficking to the following:

  • New law enforcement officers, social workers, and case managers
  • Current law enforcement officers, social worker employees, and case managers who have not previously received comparable training

The training shall be a minimum of 4 hours and shall include the following:

  • The nature and dimension of human trafficking
  • The legal rights and remedies available to a victim of human trafficking
  • The services and facilities available to a victim of human trafficking
  • The legal duties imposed on a police officer, social worker, or case manager to enforce the provisions of § 20-276 and to offer protection and assistance to a victim of human trafficking
  • Techniques for determining when a person may be a victim of trafficking
  • Techniques for handling a human trafficking offense that promotes the safety of the victim
  • The particular needs of youth and minor trafficking victims

MPD, CFSA, and DYRS shall consult with community organizations that provide training, resources, advocacy, or services to victims of human trafficking for assistance in developing and presenting training on human trafficking.

Diversion From Prosecution

Citation: D.C. Code § 22-2701

A child who engages in or offers to engage in a sexual act or sexual contact in return for receiving anything of value shall be immune from prosecution. The MPD shall refer any child suspected of engaging in or offering to engage in a sexual act or sexual contact in return for receiving anything of value to an organization that provides treatment, housing, or services appropriate for victims of sex trafficking of children under § 22-1834.

For the purposes of this section, the term 'child' means a person who is younger than age 18.

Services and Supports for Victims

Citation: Admin. Iss. CFSA-17-1

When a child is brought to CFSA, efforts will be made to conduct a preliminary assessment to ensure child safety and well-being.

Depending on the results of the assessment and/or MPD's conclusions, a referral is made to one of the designated community resources specializing in commercial sexual exploitation/sex trafficking assessment and intervention, runaway and homeless youth programs, and other identified resources and services.

Based on the findings of the investigation in which evidence supports that the child/youth was sexually exploited, CFSA makes a referral for community-based services. For the purposes of this administrative issuance, 'community-based services' include the following:

  • Designated community resources specializing in commercial sexual exploitation/sex trafficking assessment and intervention, runaway and homeless youth programs, and other identified resources
  • Mental health services as needed (including secondary providers if the initial provider is unavailable)
  • Medical care through a trauma-informed care provider

Support for Anti-Trafficking Efforts

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