Rights4Girls Releases New Report Urging for Protection of Child Sex Trafficking Victim Witnesses
Rights4Girls, in partnership with Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Trustlaw, recently released a report on innovative court protections for child sex trafficking victim witnesses. The report, Survivor Protection: Reducing the Risk of Trauma to Child Sex Trafficking Victims, describes ways to extend existing courtroom protections afforded to other victims of gender violence and child abuse, to survivors of child sex trafficking who testify at trial.
Across the country, the message is spreading that there is No Such Thing as a ‘child prostitute’ and that child sex trafficking victims are in fact victims of gender-based violence and child abuse who should be met with protections and support. However, the critical need to protect child sex trafficking victims who testify in criminal proceedings—a process that can be traumatic even when a survivor wishes to testify as part of their healing journey—is often overlooked. Though a myriad of protections exist for other survivors, particularly victims of child sexual abuse, these safeguards are not often extended to child sex trafficking victims in the courtroom setting. Even when child sex trafficking victims do have access to courtroom protections, their availability is limited or the methods are not utilized.
Survivor Protection provides a national overview of various state-based legal protections for child victim witnesses as well as their limitations. Importantly, the report offers key findings and policy recommendations to improve protections for child sex trafficking survivors by reducing the risk of trauma and prioritizing the psychological and emotional well-being of this vulnerable population.