Responding to Child Victims of Human Trafficking - Virgin Islands

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State Agency Responsibilities

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, §€‚2521

If a child is found to be delinquent or a person in need of supervision, the court may make any of the following dispositions for the child's supervision, care, and rehabilitation:

  • Permit the child to remain with his or her parents, guardian, or other person responsible for the child's care, subject to such conditions and limitations as the court may prescribe, including, but not limited to, home evaluations, parenting skills counseling or courses, and home evaluations or assessments
  • Place the child on probation under the Youth Services Administration with such conditions as described in § 2524 of this title
  • Order such care and treatment as the court may deem best, including detention care or shelter care as appropriate

Training Requirement

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 14, § 148

The Council on Human Trafficking shall coordinate training on human trafficking prevention and victim services for government employees who may have recurring contact with victims or perpetrators.

Diversion From Prosecution

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 14, § 144

An individual is not criminally liable or subject to a juvenile delinquency proceeding for prostitution or other nonviolent crimes if the individual was a minor at the time of the offense and committed the offense as a direct result of being a victim of human trafficking.

An individual who has engaged in commercial sexual activity is not criminally liable or subject to a juvenile delinquency proceeding for prostitution if the individual was a minor at the time of the offense.

A minor who under this section is not subject to criminal liability or a juvenile delinquency proceeding is presumed to be a person in need of supervision as defined in title 5, § 2502(23).

Services and Supports for Victims

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 14, § 150

A victim is eligible for a benefit or service available through the Criminal Victims Compensation Commission and other agencies identified in the plan developed under § 148(d)(1), regardless of immigration status.

A minor who has engaged in commercial sexual activity is eligible for a benefit or service available through the Department of Human Services and other agencies identified in the plan developed under § 148(d)(1), regardless of immigration status.

As soon as practicable after a first encounter with an individual who reasonably appears to the Department of Justice, the Department of Human Services, or other department or agency of the government to be a victim or a minor who has engaged in commercial sexual activity, the department or agency shall notify the appropriate agency identified in the comprehensive plan developed under § 148(d)(1) that the individual may be eligible for a benefit or service under the law of the Virgin Islands.

Support for Anti-Trafficking Efforts

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 14, §§ 148; 152

The Council on Human Trafficking is established in the Virgin Islands Department of Justice. The governor shall appoint the chair and members of the council. Members must include representatives of the following:

  • Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Human Services, the Virgin Islands Law Enforcement Planning Commission, the Virgin Islands Criminal Victims Compensation Commission, and such other departments and agencies of the government having contact with victims of crimes
  • Nongovernmental organizations that represent, advocate for, or provide services to victims
  • Other organizations and individuals, including victims, whose expertise would benefit the council

The council established under this section shall meet on a regular basis and do the following:

  • Develop a coordinated and comprehensive plan to provide victims with services
  • Collect and evaluate data on human trafficking in the Virgin Islands and submit an annual report to the governor and the legislature
  • Promote public awareness about human trafficking, victim remedies and services, and trafficking prevention
  • Create a public awareness sign that contains the Virgin Islands and National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline information
  • Coordinate training on human trafficking prevention and victim services for government employees who may have recurring contact with victims or perpetrators
  • Conduct other appropriate activities

To the extent that funds are appropriated for this purpose, the Virgin Islands Law Enforcement Planning Committee may make a grant to the council or nongovernmental victim's service organization to develop or expand service programs for victims.