order to re-traffic or recruit their victims.”197 Thus, protection and
safety must be provided to child sex trafficking victims to prevent re-victimization and reengagement with traffickers, and to allow victims
the opportunity to heal.
The creation of protective shelters for child victims is “critical
for an effective strategy to combat domestic minor sex
trafficking.”198 The term “protective shelter” “refers to a facility with
the ability to separate a victim from a trafficker [or] pimp and
provide the victim a restorative home to stabilize, heal, and move
toward independence.”199 The lack of protective shelters for minor
victims and the inappropriate or inaccessible services for child
victims are prevalent throughout the country.200 This widespread lack
of services and protective shelters is a primary reason for the re-victimization of minor victims.201 As of 2009, only “five residential
facilities specific to this population exist[ed] across the country.”202
The New York Safe Harbor Act provides for the establishment of
residential facilities for this population of minor victims.203
Domestic minor sex trafficking victims severely lack
appropriate services. Experts have explained that the “trauma
suffered by child sex trafficking victims [is] more severe than most
198 PROTECTED INNOCENCE LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK METHODOLOGY, supra note
148, at 3.
199 SMITH ET AL., supra note 12, at 67.
202 Id. at vi. The five residential facilities are located in New York City, San
Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Dallas. One of these five residential facilities
specific to victims of domestic minor sex trafficking, Girls Educational and
Mentoring Services (“GEMS”), is located in New York, N. Y. and is “one of the
largest providers of services to commercially sexually exploited and domestically
trafficked youth in the US.” Mission & History, GIRLS EDUC. & MENTORING
SERVS. (GEMS), http://www.gems-girls.org/about/mission-history (last visited
Mar. 22, 2013). GEMS provides secure housing for up to thirteen children and
offers services, including court advocacy and trauma-based therapy. See id.; see
also Our Services, GIRLS EDUC. & MENTORING SERVS. (GEMS),
http://www.gems-girls.org/what-we-do/our-services (last visited Mar. 22, 2013) (outlining the
services provided at GEMS).
203 N. Y. SOC. SERV. LAW § 447-b (McKinney 2013).