WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) today launched a Human Trafficking Initiative to bolster its efforts to fight the global problem of human trafficking and its devastating effects on young people here in the District. Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced the launch in conjunction with a training session for students at Dunbar High School conducted by i-SAFE, a non-profit organization that combats trafficking through a curriculum used in more than 3,400 school districts across the country.
Human trafficking – both in labor and in sex – is a form of modern-day slavery that is an often-overlooked and underreported problem in the United States. For adults, sex trafficking occurs when a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion. But, when it comes to minors under the age of 18, any exchange of money, goods or housing for sex acts is sex exploitation, which is -- by definition -- human trafficking. Trafficking in minors
“Too many youth who are involved in the juvenile justice and neglect systems have exchanged sex for money, food, shelter and clothing. We recognize that these minors are victims who need our help,” Attorney General Racine said. “Our office is elevating this issue by focusing on greater community outreach and collaboration with other organizations like i-SAFE to identify and support youth vulnerable to human trafficking.”
i-SAFE will teach OAG staff how to lead trainings so that they can educate youth in the community about warning signs of human trafficking and train community leaders to conduct trainings and educate youth as well.
“It is absolutely critical in today’s society to educate and empower students on the topic of human trafficking, because we know traffickers are intentionally targeting students,” said Teri Schroeder, CEO of i-SAFE, Inc. “Regardless if you live in an urban, rural, or suburban community, no student is exempt from being a target of a human trafficking. That is why i-SAFE is providing schools with essential lesson plans and training materials in an effort to combat this heinous crime. By working with the OAG and schools we are confident we take positive steps in ridding this crime.”
OAG Human Trafficking Task Force
Attorney General Racine has also created a Human Trafficking Task Force within OAG. The group, which consists of attorneys in the agency’s Public Safety and Family Services Divisions, works with the District’s Citywide Human Trafficking Task Force and other partners to coordinate the agency’s efforts related to trafficking. Attorneys in these divisions are being trained on how to spot youth in the delinquency, truancy, and abuse and neglect systems who show signs of having been sex-trafficking victims. Additionally, the task force is helping to ensure any youth that OAG identifies as a trafficking victim will be referred for appropriate services and supports.
Other OAG efforts on human trafficking include:
- Sex-Trafficking-Case Reviews: OAG is participating in monthly case-review meetings on sex trafficking with other District government agencies that serve youth in the juvenile-justice and child-protection systems.
- Community Meetings: OAG is partnering with the Metropolitan Police Department, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, Business Improvement Districts and other community organizations across the District to educate residents and businesspeople on the prevalence of human trafficking in our neighborhoods, trafficking warning signs, and how community members can take action.
- Finding Models for Youth Trafficking Education: OAG staff are consulting with non-profit organizations in the District and surrounding jurisdictions to identify the best models of human-trafficking-prevention education for students and school officials. We will then work with school, community and court-based programs to present this education to youth.
OAG welcomes ideas and feedback from the public on fighting human trafficking in the District, and encourages members of the public to report suspected trafficking of juveniles. To provide feedback on OAG’s efforts against human trafficking, call the office at (202) 727-3400 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To report suspected trafficking of juveniles, call 911 and the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency’s hotline at (202) 671-SAFE/(202) 671-7233