sexually-based trauma given the chronic nature coupled with the
reinforced victimization from the community at large of buyers.
Therefore, the services required for a child sex trafficking victim are
unique.”204 In treating child sex trafficking victims, it is essential that
service providers understand the nature of this trauma to ensure that
these victims can be diagnosed and cared for appropriately.205 For
example, these specialized services must focus on victim
empowerment, breaking down the trauma bond between victim and
trafficker, and providing victims with life consistency.206
The programs offered in New York serve as a promising
model, particularly where victims are “referred to service providers
through the following channels: law enforcement, the courts, peers,
and outreach.”207 New York’s Safe Harbor Act provides appropriate
services for minors who are arrested for prostitution and its related
offenses.208 As a result, numerous children who would have been
sentenced to serve time in a juvenile incarceration facility as
punishment for a prostitution conviction are now referred to court-approved treatment programs.209 Many child advocates and
policymakers see this process of referral as a substantial
improvement, but there are still several challenges in the overall
referral process. Outside of the judicial system there is a complete
lack of formal referral structure.210 There is no “official” protocol to
handle the referral process for a minor victim over the age of fifteen,
who is identified either by police or another agency.211 Protective
shelters and services are provided on an informal basis, usually
through personal connections of service providers.212 “The
effectiveness of placement depends on the knowledge and quality of
204 See SMITH ET AL., supra note 12, at vi.
205 Id. at 68.
207 See HINES & HOCHMAN, supra note 129, at 10.
209 Id. at 11; see also supra Part IV.A (discussing the negative effects of the judge’s
broad discretionary power to foreclose a child victim’s access to services and
prosecute her criminally in all cases subsequent to her first arrest).
210 See HINES & HOCHMAN, supra note 129, at 11.