On August 4th, Adela Rodarte, assistant director of WestCoast’s Transition Age Youth Services Program was a guest on KQED’s Forum: OPD Sex Scandal Puts Spotlight on Bay Area Sex Trafficking. In the wake of extensive media coverage about police abuse of an 18-year-old, Forum host Dave Iverson turned our attention to “the children who were exploited the day before that story broke, the day after, and who continue to be exploited today.”
Drawing from eleven years of experience working with exploited youth, Adela spoke to the risk factors that make children vulnerable to trafficking and why we must respond to exploited youth as victims of abuse rather than punishing them.
To listen to the full episode, click here.
Other guest panelists included:
- Nancy O’Malley, district attorney, Alameda County
- Kate Walker Brown, attorney, National Center for Youth Law
- La Toya Gix, human trafficking survivor; advocate, Alameda County’s District Attorney office
Leilani Diaz, Youth Advocate Fellow at WestCoast Children’s Clinic, has published a piece of creative non-fiction in the Chronicle for Social Change. Read her article here.
This coming Monday, August 8th, California lawmakers will vote on legislation that stops authorities from treating victims of child sex trafficking like criminals. We need your help to get this off the Assembly Floor and to the Governor’s desk.
SB 1322 (Mitchell) precludes victims of childhood commercial sexual exploitation from being arrested and charged with prostitution and related loitering. This bill is consistent with federal law and reflects a recognition of the harmful effects of arresting victims of child sex trafficking, including further trauma, disconnection from community and school, and burdensome criminal records. (Click here to learn more.)
Why do I fight with the people I love? Why am I failing my classes?
Why is it so hard for me to make friends?
A new book, Assessing Children in the Urban Community, edited and written by WestCoast staff, describes our collaborative approach to helping children answer questions like these through psychological assessment.
Rachel Moran in the New York Times’ Opinion Page: Buying Sex Should Not Be Legal.
From all of us at WestCoast Children’s Clinic:
Best Wishes for a Peaceful New Year
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Dear WestCoast Community,
Over the past year, nearly 63,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the Southwestern U.S. border. Many of these youth have fled gang violence and sex trafficking in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to seek refuge in the United States. Continue reading
Dear WestCoast Community,
Read any major metropolitan newspaper and you will find references to “child prostitutes.” Victims of commercial sexual exploitation are often arrested, while purchasers of sex with minors are not typically prosecuted. But children who are bought and sold for sex are victims, not criminals.
Dear WestCoast Community:
What do youth need to thrive as they recover from sexual exploitation? Breanne M. blogs about what was most important to her as she worked to establish a new life for herself.