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Fri July 20, 2012
Child Sex Trafficking a Growing Problem
Child sex trafficking is a growing national problem. Congress wants to toughen federal laws against this exploitation, and its looking to Connecticut for help.
Connecticut’s efforts to identify and help victims of the child sex trade are considered a model by advocates who want Congress to do more to combat abuse. That’s why the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth invited Tammy Sneed of the Department of Children and Families to testify how Connecticut helps children who are sexually exploited. "We’ve identified that there’s an issue and as a child welfare agency our leadership our commissioner has fully committed to serving this population so we want other states to follow.” Sneed said Connecticut is training police, school officials and hospital employees to identify and help child sex trafficking victims, who are often runaways and foster youth. She also says state laws that prevent police officers from arresting child prostitutes and require them to report suspected victims to the Department of Children and Families also helps combat abuse. Sneed says 10 child sex trafficking victims have been identified in Connecticut so far this year. But most aren’t identified, so the extent of the problem is unknown. A bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would require other states to do what Connecticut has already begun to do – provide state employees with guidance on how to identify victims. The bill would also require state agencies to report their policies on combating trafficking to the Department of Health and Human Services.