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Victims of Prostitution and Trafficking: The Rape Crisis Center Response NSAC 2011 Baltimore.

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Presentation on theme: "Victims of Prostitution and Trafficking: The Rape Crisis Center Response NSAC 2011 Baltimore."— Presentation transcript:

1 Victims of Prostitution and Trafficking: The Rape Crisis Center Response NSAC 2011 Baltimore

2 Brief History

3 Regulate or Abolish? The prostitute has been portrayed to society in many alternative forms: “as a symbol of cultural and moral decline, an innocent victim of male lust, a public health nuisance and even a cinematic heroine.” (Stolba 2000)

4 “I Remember…” The first time I became aware of prostitutes… what was the scenario? how were the women described/portrayed?

5 The Stereotypes

6 Real Life –Average age of entry –43 days from street to prostitution –65%-90% victims of incest –62% raped/73% beaten –72% homeless –67% PTSD –92% want out but can’t

7 The Problem sex trafficking is a high tech, globalized, electronic market predators and pimps are involved at all levels, using the same methods abusers have always used against their victims; trafficking is simply the global form of prostitution. prostitution and trafficking causes great harm to women and children

8 As for us... Rape Crisis Centers and other social service agencies typically have not served victims of prostitution and trafficking Victims don’t see rape crisis centers as for them Rape crisis centers have not done outreach to victims

9 March 2007: ICASA Adopted a Position Statement Those who are prostituted, trafficked and commercially sexually exploited suffer physical, emotional and economic harm. Therefore, ICASA considers prostitution, sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation to be violence and a violation of human rights.

10 ICASA advocates for and supports policies and practices that: Recognizes that victims are harmed and that they do not profit from these systems; Protects rather than punishes victims; Holds accountable those who recruit, pimp, traffic, procure, finance and profit from the commercial sexual exploitation of others; Broadens the capacity of sexual assault crisis centers to conduct outreach and provide services to victims

11 ICASA advocates for and supports policies and practices that: Provides a system of support to those currently being victimized, including: outreach; shelter, residential placement and housing; non- judgmental, victim-centered counseling; health care; vocational/academic assistance; education and job training; economic opportunity and other collateral services; and Promotes education and training of service providers, medical personnel, law enforcement officers, prosecutors and others based on the experience and knowledge of the victims

12 September 2008: ICASA Created a Prostitution and Trafficking Workgroup Goals: Conduct a needs assessment of services currently being provided and barriers to provision of services –Victims not being seen in centers –Workers felt uneducated and unprepared to respond –Lack of available resources and support Develop and implement a program model for rape crisis center’s response

13 March 2010: ICASA Revises Service Standards P 5 Establishes how rape crisis centers should respond to victims Requires that victims of PAT are recognized as victims of sexual assault Mandates victim-centered, trauma-informed response Requires programs adapt their response to needs of victims

14 Philosophy Victim Centered Trauma informed HARM REDUCTION – respects reality of victims life and that change is incremental; change is possible while a victim is still engaged in risky situations Must be collaborative effort – recognizes limitations and addresses gaps

15 Rape Crisis Center Response P 15 It starts with needs assessment and self-evaluation P 17 It proceeds with training for self and staff; training on required topics should be institutionalized within centers

16 Rape Crisis Center Response P Crisis Response See screening questions and supportive statements Make sure first responders are trained suspend judgment; honesty and trust are important There may be a reluctance to share information Victims may not view themselves as victims or pimps as perps Critical to know/trust ANY referrals Victims may be transient; w/o permanent contact info Safety and survival take priority

17 Medical Advocacy P 22 Collection of evidence using rape kit may require advocacy as victims are not seen as victims of rape Risk of physical injury may be higher than other victims STIs and pregnancy due to inconsistent condom use and high number of sexual contacts are significant concern Use of alcohol and drugs is common Advocacy for help with prescriptions and medicines is often important

18 Medical Advocacy Remember the health care system often does not meet immediate needs of victims or address long term health issues Victims of prostitution, trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation are often criminalized for their experiences and may require advocacy focused on prevention of arrest or other punitive responses.

19 Legal Advocacy P 23 Often these victims are seen as criminal defendants, and not as victims Working to get charges dropped may be part of advocacy Advocacy related to collateral issues such as other criminal charges, child custody issues, deportation, etc may be involved

20 Counseling P 24 Victim-centered Trauma-informed Harm-reduction approach Cultural sensitivity is huge…must understand what it means to be “in the life.”

21 Groups P 26 See the group curriculum from Breaking Free in Minneapolis, MIN (Vednita Carter) at Available on the ICASA website at

22 Community Resources and Referrals P 27 Critical to develop resources and referrals: shelter, healthcare, housing, mental health, substance abuse, employment, education and vocation, etc.

23 Community Collaboration P 28 Must identify and bring together key players Can’t do it all alone….complex problem needs complex response Establish networking agreements Engage in cross-training Develop a strategic plan Community involvement is critical to success!!

24 Prevention P 38 Incorporate into your education and awareness presentations and programming Justice Resource Institute: My Life My Choices curriculum CAASE: Empowering Young Men Toward Ending Sexual Exploitation; at

25 Individualized Program Response There are no specific program requirements Program’s specific response may be based on center abilities

26 “As long as we are willing to accept prostitution of some women, then we will have to live with the rape of all women, forever.” -Vednita Carter Breaking Free, MN


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