Responding to Child Victims of Human Trafficking - Maryland

Date: December 2018

State Agency Responsibilities

Citation: Pol. Dir. SSA-CW # 17-16

Any time that a child is identified or discloses that he or she is a trafficking victim, a referral to child protective services (CPS) must be made and law enforcement must be notified. When law enforcement call in a referral, the CPS screener should accept the case as sexual abuse/sex trafficking. If a referral is called in by someone other than law enforcement, the screener should determine if there is sufficient information to screen in the case as sexual abuse/human trafficking and manage it the same way a law enforcement referral is managed.

All responses to sex trafficking investigations are to be immediate response. During the response, the worker should do the following:

  • Ensure that the child's immediate needs are being met
  • Locate the child's family and assess their ability to provide safety as well as determine if the family has had any involvement in or has benefitted in any way from the sex trafficking
  • Arrange for a forensic medical examination
  • Interview the child victim in cooperation/coordination with law enforcement, trafficking victim advocate, and forensic interviewer
  • Assess and safety plan with the victim, taking into consideration the unique risks present in trafficking cases
  • Notify the jurisdiction where the child resides (if different) that they need to respond to provide services to the child, which most likely will include sheltering the victim
  • Ensure that the child is being cared for in a safe and stable placement
  • If law enforcement is not involved, notify the local task force officer or law enforcement no later than 24 hours after receiving a trafficking report

Ongoing investigative responsibilities include the following:

  • Determine whether the child's family had any involvement in the sex trafficking
  • Evaluate all concerns about abuse, neglect, or issues in the home that may have contributed to the child's vulnerability and/or runaway behavior and involvement in trafficking
  • Work in conjunction with law enforcement, which may include local, State, and Federal (e.g., Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigation) agencies
  • Determine what services may be necessary, as well as addressing the need to transfer the child/family to family preservation or permanency/placement services, if appropriate

Law enforcement will assume responsibility for the following:

  • Interviewing the alleged trafficker
  • Providing the CPS worker with information regarding the trafficker that is necessary to complete the requirements of the CPS investigation
  • Interviewing the child in coordination with the investigating worker, the forensic interviewer, and a trafficking victim advocate if available

A child should not be interviewed multiple times by multiple individuals, and all involved should cooperate to ensure the child's needs are being met.

Training Requirement

Citation: Pub. Safety Code § 3-207; Educ. Code § 7-432; Pol. Dir. SSA-CW #18-10

The Police Training and Standards Commission has the power and duty to require, for entrance-level police training and at least every 3 years for inservice-level police training conducted by the State and each county and municipal police training school, that the curriculum and minimum courses of study include special training, attention to, and study of the application and enforcement of the following:

  • The criminal laws concerning rape and sexual offenses, including the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and related evidentiary procedures
  • The criminal laws concerning human trafficking, including services and supports available to victims and the rights and appropriate treatment of victims
  • The contact with and treatment of victims of crimes and delinquent acts
  • The notices, services, support, and rights available to victims and victims' representatives under State law
  • The notification of victims of identity fraud and related crimes of their rights under Federal law

The Department of Education, in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Health, shall provide awareness and training for directors of student services in local education agencies on human trafficking, including strategies for the preventing the trafficking of children.

The Maryland Department of Health, in consultation with experts in the field of human trafficking prevention, shall provide to the Department of Education the following:

  • Resource information on human trafficking, including strategies for prevention of trafficking of children, to be distributed to local school supervisors of health, counseling, and psychology
  • Materials for distribution that describe local, State, and national resources to which students, parents, counselors, and school personnel can refer for information on human trafficking, including strategies for prevention of trafficking of children

In policy: All child welfare staff are required to complete a two-part training on sex trafficking.

Diversion From Prosecution

Citation: Crim. Law § 11-306

In a prosecution under this section, it is an affirmative defense of duress if the defendant committed the act of prostitution as a result of being a victim of an act of another who was charged with violating the prohibition against human trafficking under § 11-303 of this subtitle or under Federal law.

Services and Supports for Victims

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

Support for Anti-Trafficking Efforts

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