Webinar presenters Rebecca Burney and Tina Frundt answered a number of your questions after their presentation, Asking the Right Questions: Collaborative Approaches and Strategies to Identify and Serve Child Sex Trafficking Survivors. Here are just a few of their responses.
Audience Question: What assessment tool is Courtney’s House using?
Tina Frundt: So, I create all of our tools and curriculum at Courtney’s House. I have created everything. Everything’s based off of my life, what should have been added, and wasn’t. And then our youth at Courtney’s House are very outspoken, and they actually help reform all the questions and curriculum we do. So, it’s from us, and we can help you with that by consulting.
Host: Got it. I was just going to ask you that if there’s any way to get it for folks to get access to your assessment tools, so it sounds like the best next step is to reach out to you at your e-mail.
Audience Question: If a youth is in the foster system, does family control include the foster family? I think the answer is yes to this one, but I’ll certainly let you respond, Tina.
Tina Frundt: Yes, that could include the foster family. That was in my case, the foster family. Correct.
Audience Question: When the survivor’s identified as being at her family control. Do you find that it’s often an immediate family like a parent or sibling or is it an extended family like an aunt and uncle? Maybe a grandparent?
Tina Frundt: In all my cases, over the 20 years, it’s been an immediate family. Either Grandma, mom, dad, yep, or uncle sometimes.
Audience Question: And this might be a question for you, Rebecca, how often are traffickers caught and when they’re caught, what did they typically charge with?
Rebecca Burney: That’s a great question. So, I would say it’s very rarely are they charged, first of all. It’s very difficult for prosecutors to charge in ??? case. A felony that requires quite a lot of evidence and a high burden legally. Oftentimes we’ll see the traffickers charged with minor offenses such as, like, pimping or pandering, sometimes solicitation. It depends on the situation. Unfortunately, because of this, there are a lot of traffickers are just roaming free and continuing ??? on probation for minor offenses.
Audience Question: Do we have any federal protections to prevent minors from being charged for solicitation charges?
Rebecca Burney: I’m assuming they mean in terms of minors who are selling not buying. So, yes, there are, unfortunately, not Federal. It’s a state by state issue. So, you know, rarely will you use get Federal charges for prostitution, but each state and jurisdiction are slightly different. So, for example, in our area, in DC, we have what is known as Safe Harbor Laws, where children cannot be charged for selling sex. However, in Virginia, for example, they can be arrested for prostitution. And so, it really varies by jurisdiction. If you’re interested in what your jurisdiction is doing specifically, feel free to e-mail me. I can give you some research and data, and then Shared Hope also has a state by state guide on what each jurisdiction is doing. So, the short answer is, it varies by state. Federally, I’ve never seen youth really get many federal charges for selling sex.
Audience Question: If law enforcement has a case of sex trafficking, does that agency typically contact the FBI or local federal law enforcement to handle that case?
Rebecca Burney: I felt like Tina talked a little bit about what happens locally.
Tina Frundt: So, that’s state by state. So that is normally, though, cases don’t get just kicked up to the FBI. Local police handles it. To get kicked out to the FBI usually has to be warning one youth even that was light trafficked or severe and so that they can kick it to FBI. But to even get anything kicked up, right, you have to have enough reasons to get it kicked up.
Audience Question: Who are mandatory reporters if there are cases of suspected sex trafficking?
Tina Frundt: So, I’m a mandated reporter because I work with foster care. With that said, we’re mandated reporters, but I think that people get scared, right? And you think just because you’ve told me something ???? that the report they won’t tell me again. Well no, that’s not true at all. It’s about the way you do it, and how you tell them. We tell them we have the report, but do you talk to them first about what you’re going to report, have them write it down? And then, do you put yourself on speakers so that they can hit a report. Because it’s really about you not saying anything they didn’t say. So, we don’t have a problem with it, because they have to be completely honest with you, and think of a different way so that they can feel like you have their back.
Audience Question: Can we utilize Courtney’s House if we’re in the state of Maryland?
Tina Frundt: Kelly, of course, you can. We have youth that were in Carroll County, Baltimore, and made sure that they got to us. You sure can.
Audience Question: Are there particular books or resources that you recommend to learn more and develop more general knowledge about the topic of sexual and labor trafficking?
Rebecca Burney: I will say, yes, there are tons of resources. I think, you know, I would say contact me if there’s something specific you want, whether you’re interested in reading survivor stories, there have been some wonderful memoirs written. And I always think it’s best to hear from survivors themselves. And if you want more information about, like the legal landscape around trafficking, there are other resources there. If you want statistics and data about legislative approaches, there’s also great report in research that’s been written. So, I would e-mail me, and I’m happy to point you in the right direction of that topic and there are many different angles. I wouldn’t say there’s one specific resource that I could recommend.
Audience Question: If, as an investigator for the court, we find out that one of our adult clients has a history of being a survivor of human trafficking. What’s the best way of addressing this issue?
Tina Frundt: Okay, so first, you explain and ask questions to them. So, when you say, so here’s the thing. I’m trying to understand if you’re working in straight with the court services, I’m just going to be 100% honest and most likely they’re not going to be 100% honest with you because they’re afraid you need a middleman to help them understand. Now, you can come at a different way, and you can tell them that you love to get their services, and help out, and then ask some of those questions that we asked on the first slide so that you can get more information, and they can give you the information. And then it turns out like they’re ??? right. So, do it that way.
Audience Question: How worried should we be about the safety of the minor children? And how do you even assess their safety?
Tina Frundt: Well, so you don’t know how to assess their own safety. So, we do a different type of safety assessment than most people do. So, for us, we actually ask you quick questions, like, if you leave, what would you say was your favorite items that you take? Because they always have favorite things they take, so they usually tell us, they tell us, where would you go in certain areas. Then we also take a picture of them on their intake day, and they can take their own selfie if they want. They usually do. And then we tell them, that will be there, missing persons updated so that we will look for them. So, you need to do it in a different way. So, they see that it’s caring, and not just like, I’m going to look for you and do this.
Audience Question: Regarding the safety of the human trafficking survivors’ children are they at a higher risk?
Tina Frundt: Yeah, I mean, to be honest, we have youth that their dad was the trafficker, he was a pimp. And although he did not traffic them until she got about 15, 16. He tries to make her get in line. They thought pimps for good, because what they saw, and the life of different way. So also, now, sometimes is they see it a different way. They see it as a good thing, and not a negative thing. And sometimes I feel a negative thing, but they still slide into it, right? Like all survivors do because each thing looks different. And that’s my answer.
Audience Question: Are a clique and a set the same thing?
Tina Frundt: Yeah. Clique and a set are the same thing.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Asking the Right Questions: Collaborative Approaches and Strategies to Identify and Serve Child Sex Trafficking Survivors.