Nevada Child

Nevada Child

The issue of children being sexually exploited through prostitution has received new focus from the Federal Government. The 2005 US Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) has now designated American Children prostituted in the US as victims (Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Victims). The Department of Justice has identified the gaps and challenges in combating child trafficking as including the lack of secure shelters for victims, the need for more effective cooperation between non-governmental organizations and governmental agencies, the difficulties in the identification of victims and traffickers, and the lack of preventive measures.

 

Professionals in the Clark County juvenile justice community have been struggling with the issue of caring for sexually exploited youth. The normal practice of catching and releasing children used by most jurisdictions does not provide enough time to address their complex health, psychological and emotional needs. Since over 60% of the children arrested in Las Vegas are not from Nevada, they are released to their home jurisdictions back to the same situations that they ran away from with little to no attempts being made to address their needs.

 

In August of 2005 the Clark County Juvenile Court Judge William Voy along with the District Attorney and Public Defender responsible for juvenile delinquency proceedings in Clark County, came together to achieve the same goal - to assist these children, provide treatment and enable them to become healthy adults. Over the last two and a half years they have been struggling with accomplishing this goal in that these children do not usually want, accept nor do they understand that they need assistance and treatment. A major part of the solution is the creation of a protective safe house. The proposed staff-secured safe house/assessment center will provide an alternative to housing these children in the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center. This protective safe house will look like a residential house and have bed space for up to 14 children. It will look like a home where the children will feel secure and will not be treated like criminals. They will be cared for by social work and mental health professionals who understand the medical, social and psychological needs of victimized children. These professionals can both address immediate needs and identify medium and long term treatment needs. By creating a home-like atmosphere the children will feel safe and can participate in planning for their transition out of prostitution.

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