Provisional immunity would allow youths to avoid prosecution in exchange for immediate
participation in services with the goal of eventual cooperation with authorities in any
investigation into adult criminal activity the child has been involved with or, if that is not feasible,
participating at a mentor level upon successful completion of a rehabilitation program.
Eliciting a minor’s cooperation with a criminal investigation would require that any
statements made by a child for the purpose of securing a conviction of an adult could not then be
used against the child to secure the child’s delinquent adjudication. It would also require that law
enforcement have some mechanism in place to help protect these child witnesses from retaliation
by their former gang. Attending to trafficking victims’ needs, particularly their need to feel safe,
improves the cooperation of victim witnesses in sex trafficking cases. 116 This suggests that a
similar tactic will encourage juvenile gang members to be more open to participating as witnesses
B. Services Targeted Toward Resolving Core Psychological and Environmental Issues that
Constitute the Greatest Risk Factors for Gang Involvement
Post-conflict recovery for all child combatants is a complex issue, with psychological,
economic, and educational components interwoven. 117 Common services juveniles may receive
during probation are behavior monitoring by a probation officer, life skills and job training, and
psychiatric care. 118 Juveniles with probation dispositions often must make restitution for their
delinquent acts. 119 School attendance is also required, but a court may not have the authority to
order educational services that would be most appropriate for the child’s particular needs. 120
These are essentially conditions or rules that the youth must adhere to in order to avoid
detention. 121 “Probation is not punishment,” 122 but any disposition imposed after adjudication
cannot avoid the appearance of punishment entirely. The programs former child soldiers
participate in are not presented as a form of punishment or a pre-punishment alternative. 123 The
focus is not only on psychologically specific trauma recovery, but also community support, which
is more financially sustainable for a government and contributes to the individual’s resilience. 124
The difference between discouraging delinquency and encouraging successful adulthood
is not merely semantic. Ensuring that a child follows the probation requirements will certainly
contribute to the child’s chances of reaching adulthood as a functional individual, but that alone
will not provide children steeped in violence with all they need to remain productive citizens.
Specialized economic and social services are necessary to activate gang-involved children’s
116 Derek Pennartz, The Irony of the Land of the Free: How Texas is Cleaning Up Its Human Trafficking Problem, 12 TEX. TECH
ADMIN. L.J. 367, 376–80 (2011); Terry Cooney, Anatomy of a Sex Trafficking Case, 5 INTERCULTURAL HUM. RTS. L. REV. 313, 342–
43 (2010); Hussein Sadruddin et al., Human Trafficking in the United States: Expanding Victim Protection Beyond Prosecution
Witnesses, 16 STAN. L. & POL’Y REV. 379, 406–11 (2005).
117 Cecilia Wainryb & Patricia K. Kerig, The Person and the Social Context: Future Directions for Research on the Traumatic Effects
of Child Soldiering Around the World, J. AGGRESSION, MALTREATMENT & TRAUMA, 887, 890–92 (2013).
118 See, e.g., N.C. GEN. STAT. ANN. § 7B-2504 (West 2015).
119 See, e.g., TEX. FAM. CODE ANN. § 59.006(a)(2) (West 2015).
120 See, e.g., Alternative Education Q & A, IND. DEP’T OF EDUC. (Oct. 5, 2012),
http://www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/cte/alt-ed-q.pdf (“If juvenile judges want to court order placement in an alternative education program, there should be communication with the
alternative education administrator prior to that decision in order to ensure that it would be an appropriate placement and that the
program was not full.”); see also MISS. CODE ANN. § 43-21-621(1) (West 2015) (stating that a court may order a state-funded school
to enroll a juvenile offender, but not if the juvenile has been adjudicated delinquent for having a weapon on school grounds or a crime
121 In re J.K., 641 N. W.2d 617, 622–23 (Minn. Ct. App. 2002).
122 In re J.G., 993 P.2d 1055, 1058 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1999).
123 See Kerig et al., supra note 83, at 785–87 (discussing rehabilitative tactics involved in current studies). But c.f. Susan Tiefenbrun,
Child Soldiers, Slavery and the Trafficking of Children, 31 FORDHAM INT’L L.J. 415, 433–34 (2008) (discussing prosecutions and
executions of child soldiers in the late 1990s in Uganda and Colombia)