We Need Your Help: May 30 Call-In Day to Support Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act

Dear WestCoast Community:The Justice For Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA), S. 1738 is the only comprehensive human trafficking legislation that provides funding for the services that sexually exploited youth need to heal. It also addresses the demand that drives the sex trafficking market by giving law enforcement the prosecutorial tools needed to target those who purchase sex from minors.The House of Representatives unanimously passed the JVTA last week. Now we need the Senate to take up the legislation in order for it to become law.

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WCC hosts symposium on sexually exploited youth

Dear WestCoast Community,

On April 17, we hosted a symposium to surface some of the key dilemmas we face in adequately serving exploited youth, We Can Do Better: Improving our response to child sex trafficking in Alameda County. The panel and subsequent discussion is meant to guide our collective efforts towards improving the system for youth. To learn more about the symposium, please read this article in the Chronicle of Social Change.

You can take action right now to improve services for sexually exploited youth. Click here to learn more about current legislative proposals, and how to support them.

We extend our thanks to the sponsors who supported the symposium, Chabot-Las Positas Community College DistrictZellerbach Family Foundation, andGirls Rights Project. We are also grateful to our panelists, who represent a range of organizations and systems that work with trafficked youth: Continue reading

Rise in children’s psychiatric hospitalizations

An article in Sunday’s Sacramento Bee reports a nearly 40% increase in youth psychiatric hospitalizations in California between 2007 and 2012. A decline in the availability of crisis response services and therapeutic residential treatment has left parents and social workers with few other options besides emergency rooms.WestCoast’s community-based mental health services, which are mobile and intensive, help to fill the gap between traditional therapy and hospitalization.

Read the article here.

Have you seen these billboards?

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The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and MISSSEY have launched a campaign to put child sex traffickers on notice, reach out to victims, and ask for community support to end trafficking. The 27 billboards and 30 bus shelter ads placed throughout Oakland have three clear messages. District Attorney Nancy O’Malley speaks to the goals of the campaign in no uncertain terms:

  • To the buyers and sellers of children for sex: You will be prosecuted in Alameda County by my office, which leads the nation in human trafficking prosecutions.
  • To victims and survivors: Getting out of the situation is possible, others have survived and “U can 2.”
  • To the community: It is time to come together and end sex trafficking. 

Spread the word–we have zero tolerance for trafficking in our neighborhoods. Share this blog post on Facebook, and report suspicious behavior to the human trafficking hotline by phone 1 (888) 373-7888 or text Be Free (233733).

WestCoast Children’s Clinic works with over 100 sexually exploited youth at any given time. We need your help.

WestCoast presents at national CANS conference: 2011, 2012, and 2013

WestCoast has presented our research on sexually exploited minors at the National Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Conference in 2011, 2012, and 2013. In 2011, Dr. April Fernando, WestCoast’s Chief of Clinical Operations, Research, and Training, won the Program Outcome Champion award for innovation in design and implementation of a CANS tool in our clinic.

It’s about more than just corn subsidies…

Dear WestCoast Community,

The federal Farm Bill, currently under negotiation in Congress, is about more than just corn subsidies—it also contains a program critical to the healthy development of low-income children: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP, also known as food stamps, helps feed children and families living in poverty. Continue reading

WestCoast to serve on CSEC Action Team

In July 2013, WestCoast’s Executive Director, Stacey Katz, was selected to serve on the California Child Welfare Council’s CSEC Action Team. The CSEC Action Team was convened in response to the recommendations in the Council’s report Ending the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: A Call for Multi-System Collaboration in CaliforniaDr. Katz will provide the mental health perspective on the problem of child sex trafficking, and is co-chair of the Identification and Prevalence sub-committee.

What happens after an FBI raid?

Dear WestCoast Community,

According to national news reports last week, the FBI rescued 105 victims from commercial sexual exploitation in 76 cities throughout the country. But what happens to victims after they are recovered? Some are returned to their families or foster care placements. The Chronicle of Social Change delved deeper to report that others are not treated like victims at all: Some Trafficking Victims ‘Rescued’ by the FBI Have Been ArrestedContinue reading

Its Right Here…

Dear WestCoast Community,

As awareness grows in Oakland and beyond about the commercial sexual exploitation of children, WestCoast is at the forefront, providing crucial expertise about the problem and ways we can address it. In an article published by Oakland Local today, WestCoast’s Director of Research and Evaluation, Dr. Danna Basson, shared our research on the trauma and impact of sexual exploitation on our clients as we reported last year in Research-to-Action: Sexually Exploited Minors Needs and Strengths. Continue reading