The underlying subject is by no means a good thing, but the fact that it’s receiving law enforcement attention is. About 100 state and federal law enforcement officials, social services providers, parents and educators gathered at Pace’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law for a conference on child sex-trafficking. Members of the Westchester County Anti-Trafficking Task Force said that they have handled more than 300 cases since the task force began in 2011.
Mimi Rocah, distinguished criminal justice fellow at the law school told the conference, “We are not helpless in the face of these horrible acts. …We need to get the facts, raise awareness and arm ourselves with tools for prevention.”
The conference was produced in collaboration with the Pace Women’s Justice Center, International Organization for Adolescents, My Sisters’ Place, the Junior League of Northern Westchester and the Westchester County Anti-Trafficking Task Force.
A survivor of child sex-trafficking, identified only as J.S., was interviewed by panel moderator Alison Boak, executive director of the International Organization for Adolescents. J.S. spoke about being preyed upon as a teenager by a 34-year-old pimp who profited from forcing her to perform sex acts. J.S. said that her sheltered life in the suburbs of Seattle had not prepared her for the real world.
“Trafficking prevention starts and ends with our community being educated and proactive in our response,” Boak said.