The Law and Human Trafficking – An SCBA Breakfast Seminar Series
by Jaya Badiga
Sacramento has been identified as a hotspot for trafficking. The Polaris Project, a national nonprofit organization that combats human trafficking, saw a 13% uptick in human trafficking cases in 2017. The top five risk factors for human trafficking according to its 2017 factsheet are: recent migration/relocation, substance abuse, runaway youth, mental health, and involvement in the child welfare system.
Approximately 10 years ago, the town of El Dorado Hills was rocked by the news that a 17-year old was missing. Her parents, family friends, and investigators learned that she was picked up by an acquaintance in the parking lot of a grocery store and subsequently trafficked for more than a week before she was rescued. This prompted Ashlie Bryant, a friend of the family and co-founder of 3Strands Global Foundation, to start an organization with a mission to prevent human trafficking through education, training, and curriculum development addressing the issue.
With the goal of informing the legal and non-profit communities and facilitating collaboration between them, last year, the Sacramento County Bar Association hosted part one of a series on “The Law and Human Trafficking Awareness.” Part 2 of this series will be held on June 19, 2019, from 8:30 a.m.-noon, at the SCBA Event Center.
The part one breakfast seminar opened with a session on community services. This panel was led by Ashlie Bryant from 3Strands, Emily Butler from The Grace Network, Rico Ozaki from Opening Doors, and Terri Galvan from CASH. A law enforcement session introduced the audience to Patricia Contreras, an Assistant Public Defender, Paul Durenberger, Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney, and Nirav Desai, an Assistant U.S. Attorney (E.D Cal.).
The greater Sacramento area has several non-profit organizations with a mission to eradicate human trafficking, including Communities Against Sexual Harm (CASH), Opening Doors (which runs the Sacramento Rescue & Restore Coalition), The Grace Network, WEAVE, My Sister’s House, and 3Strands.
Judge Stacy Boulware Eurie led the third session – an overview of the integrated and collaborative judicial approach to children in the courtroom, frequently known as CSEC (commercial sexual exploitation of children) kids. Boulware Eurie disfavors the common practice of referring to children in Department 90 as “CSEC” kids, an identity the children struggle to escape. Instead, there has been an active effort at changing this culture and referring to these cases as “Department 90 proceedings.” The approach that Boulware Eurie brought to Department 90 centers around being trauma-informed, providing coordinated care, consistency and follow-through, and screening for other risk factors. A multi-disciplinary approach that Boulware Eurie created and convened is surprisingly not at cross purposes with judicial administration in these cases, where the best-interest of-the-child standard is the over-arching legal principle. Boulware Eurie described the outcome of these measures – an attitudinal shift in the roles of the various stakeholders in the courtroom. The program that Boulware Eurie has implemented in Department 90 could be a model solution to combat human trafficking: a multi-system coordination with community organizations, law enforcement, court systems, mental health providers, legislators, and other stakeholders.
In part two of the series (June 19, 2019), the sessions will address community services, law enforcement and legislation, and legal interventions such as expungements and vacaturs. All are welcome – encouraged – to attend. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER