Hoping to establish clear guidelines and a county-wide protocol for dealing with children that are trafficked for sex, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors asked the county’s chief executive office to coordinate with other county departments to create a plan by the end of the year.
The motion, co-authored by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Don Knabe, directs the Chief Executive Office to bring together the departments of Probation, Children and Family Services, Public Social Services, Mental Health, Public Health, Health Services, the District Attorney and the Sheriff’s Department and come up with an implementation plan.
Currently, the county does not have a protocol to help children that are trafficked and so many end-up without services or help and go back out on the street. The protocol would ensure they are placed in a safe environment, enrolled in school and given proper physical and mental health services.
“We must get rid of the silos and the bureaucracy that hinders good communication and collaboration,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas. “The County must step forward to provide a uniform service delivery model. Each department must be engaged and actively involved in the creation of the response model.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation determined that Los Angeles is one of the nation’s thirteen high intensity child prostitution areas. In 2010, Los Angeles County Probation Department identified 174 sexually trafficked youth; nearly 70 percent were a part of the child welfare system.