WestCoast at the White House

On June 10th, WestCoast’s Executive Director, Stacey Katz, presented at the White House to state and national leaders who were brought together for the National Convening on Trafficking and Child Welfare. The U.S. Administration for Children and Families sponsored the event to prepare state child welfare agencies, law enforcement and the courts to implement new legislation, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014.

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You can’t stop something you don’t see

Dear WestCoast Community:

Children are bought and sold for sex every night throughout California. Most go unnoticed. We know from our research that exploited youth are abused for 2 to 3 years before anyone recognizes it. In response, WestCoast developed a brief screening tool to help professionals see the signs of exploitation and intervene earlier.
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There is No Such Thing as a Child Prostitute

An article in this week’s East Bay Express denounces the treatment of sexually exploited youth as criminals. There are over 100 girls sold for sex in Oakland every night. They are often arrested instead of given the services they need as victims.

Reporter Lynsey Clark interviewed WestCoast staff including Adela Rodarte, TAYS Service Coordinator; Jodie Langs, Policy & Communications Director; and Stacey Katz, Executive Director.

It seems to me that no matter what we believe, our current practice of incarcerating youth says: ‘You’ve done something wrong and that’s why we’re locking you up and charging you with a crime.’ This conveys the same thing that their traffickers do — that no one cares what happens to you.

The recently passed 2014-15 State Budget is helping to change that. The final State Budget includes unprecedented funding for child welfare agencies to provide services through the Commercially Sexually Exploited Children Program. These resources are a critical first step toward helping communities like Oakland meet the needs of sexually exploited youth.

You can help raise awareness about child sex trafficking in Oakland and the recent changes to California’s response by forwarding this email or sharing the East Bay Express article on facebook and twitter.

*Please note that the article states Assembly Bill 2035 failed to move forward in the Legislature, however the bill continues to work through the legislative process.

Will Governor Brown do the right thing?

Dear WestCoast Community:

Today the Oakland Tribune published an op-ed co-authored by WestCoast’s Executive Director, Stacey Katz, and the Director of Alameda County Social Services, Lori Cox.

Help us spread the word: Post the article on Facebook and Twitter with #CAstopCSEC, or forward this email to a friend.

Thank you,

Jodie Langs
Policy Director

Tell Governor Brown to help sexually exploited children

Dear WestCoast Community:

The Legislature recently voted to invest $20.3 million in State funding to protect and serve commercially sexually exploited children through California’s child welfare system. Now we need your help to make sure Governor Brown approves these funds in the 2014-15 State Budget. The final budget will be determined in the coming days. 

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