International Center for Research on Women (ICRW): Did you know that over half of U.S. states currently arrest – and even prosecute – sex-trafficked children for prostitution? An increasing number of states are passing legislation preventing this from happening for everyone under the age of 18, but it is a lengthy process and can be a real uphill battle. Given the challenges, what can be done? Studying state-level legislation is an important step, as local and state law enforcement and service providers interact with sexually exploited youth more often than federal officials. State-level statutes often determine if children are treated as criminals or victims. Law enforcement and prosecutors often cite the need to be able to control “non-compliant” sexually-exploited children with threats of arrest and argue that detention protects child victims by separating them from traffickers and sex buyers. This rationale, however, fails to consider that incarceration can re-traumatize sex-trafficked children. And it does not take into account histories of sexual abuse and neglect prior to exploitation. On June 5th, 2018, ICRW hosted an Insights to Action event featuring our 2017 Mariam K. Chamberlain Dissertation Award Winner Kate Price, Shared Hope International’s Senior Director of Public Policy Christine Raino & Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston Keith Gunnar Bentele. We had a discussion about current trends in state legislation to decriminalize child sex trafficking victims. This is the recording from that event.

SWOP Behind Bars asking: are there any current empowerment style re-entry models specifically focused on survivors workers that are leading the way in criminal justice reform:
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swop behind bars asking are
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there any current empowerment style
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re-entry models specifically focused on
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survivors workers that are leading the
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way in criminal justice reforms I’ll
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speak to the task force’s absolutely
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there’s such a wide array of task forces
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and so honestly how I created the
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variable was other people’s in 2009 DOJ
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funded the first like task force’s and
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then innocent since the most often a big
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interesting part is that there has to be
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a task force created as well and some
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are grassroots movements so as you’re
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talking about this and as we’re really
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task forces continue to emerge is so
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important Keith has been so great about
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having me break down you know this is
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that would be a wonderful breakdown of
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which one which task force isn’t
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legislated which are grassroots you know
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is there difference in terms of that
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even in terms of seeker
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I’m so sees hi-c pervert and really
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decriminalize some states don’t kind of
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save her but fully decriminalize and so
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that’s one thing I haven’t talked about
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here but in terms of what does that
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within the variables that are so
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significant breaking down differences
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within those variables how does that
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then move difference on the scene they
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were concentrated disadvantage
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okay so
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I did an aggregated concentrated
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disadvantage which was all six variables
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that are part of William Julius Wilson
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concentrated disadvantage but then I
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disaggregated them and so what does that
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look like so test scores that would be a
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great idea to do that as well and then
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forgetting the second part of your
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question unintended consequence
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unintended consequence I think the
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biggest thing when you’re asking about
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that it makes me think of exactly what
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decriminalization advocates are nervous
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about in the face of okay so everyone
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ready to decriminalize right now okay so
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how aren’t you ain’t going to get
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services how within Massachusetts I know
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my life my choice got a wonderful grant
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to work with Department of Children we
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see that they have very much a
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multidisciplinary group lots Minnesota
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is the exact is called no longer work so
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as soon as any other child has
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identified their lineage of services
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that takes a lot of infrastructure and a
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lot of money and so I absolutely
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understand this
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people say mercy isn’t ready to do this
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and at the same time that I to proceed
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point that yes but decriminalizing with
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that been pushed up you know in terms of
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the initially decision I made in terms
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of Minnesota’s approach and so that
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created urgency by enacting the
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normalization law and in pushing out the
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effective date three years and basically
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the legislature
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found that actually started implementing
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the law before they’re actually required
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to because this was just and what’s the
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color my getting there which is and that
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said Minnesota’s not its seen in some
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existed world standard state and at the
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same time they’re definitely it’s not
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perfect you know it ended and they’re
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you know it’s not something I mean are
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the voters and says your balloon plan is
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yes it started weakness and so so much
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of this is enacting implementing
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learning implication Florida’s an
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example
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Harrogate every two years refining
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legislation and no I mean you know I
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mean I really see this as my life’s work
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in so many ways it’s so I received my
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masters in 2005 but got married around
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the same time was really had to really
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think about this like would this be we
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trigger would this be triggering for me
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so my husband my therapist you know
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other people that I work with this would
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receive that idea for me to and I really
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found that I can’t compartmentalize
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that’s what helped me survive it I went
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to school when I was at school like
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everything is also like that it’s good
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to be able to do that I didn’t tell you
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I am working my book my personal story
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more people the first blow not the
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spotlight treatment so it was one
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spotlight team and the others are huge
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they’re very very much is a huge
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opportunity there and I think so and
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there are so many people with amazing
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stories and I will say there are so many
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survivors who are much more public than
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I am I like doing the research it’s
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tributing for me but yeah I think you’re
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at and proceeded to definitely speak to
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this but they were aroused we had this
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big push as well this happening and now
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we’re in a point where people passed
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away and now I know this is the case
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with Massachusetts what’s it going to
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take to kind of get it help to
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decriminalization there’s task force you
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know that was in Massachusetts there was
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the Attorney General Martha Coakley who
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was really the big push now we have more
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Healy who’s wonderful and at the same
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time she is has a lot of other
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priorities violence issues
 Response to the answer given : “With all due respect:  Though words were spoken in response regarding task forces, that woman did not answer the question. Task Forces are not empowering to us.  Task forces are a promotion of the speaker, not an answer to my question. “Unintended consequences” are not empowerment services for youth or adult survivors and/or workers. Task forces do not secure housing, pay student loans, assist with career placement, nor do they offer long-term confidential support services. With all due respect thank you for considering my dismay at that being considered an actual answer. Have a blessed day – M. Dante