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Trafficked Youth

Child Trafficking Awareness and Prevention

ACS is committed to identifying and helping labor trafficked and commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) and youth achieve safety and obtain resources to help them heal and thrive. ACS established the Office of Child Trafficking Prevention & Policy (OCTPP) to provide guidance for work with this vulnerable population. OCTPP also works collaboratively with the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) to provide a wide range of services to prevent trafficking and meet the needs of at-risk youth and victims of exploitation through funding from ACS and through the NYS Office of Family and Children's Services' Safe Harbour Program.

About the ACS Office of Child Trafficking Prevention & Policy (OCTPP):

The ACS Office of Child Trafficking Prevention & Policy (OCTPP) works to raise awareness of trafficking and helps to identify appropriate services available to help youth at-risk and victims of commercial sexual exploitation and their families. In 2013, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) allocated a grant to New York City and other counties to support services mandated by the Safe Harbor Act of 2008. Susan Morley, Special Advisor to the Commissioner for Investigations, initially led the management of the grant, with assistance from several divisions. Due to the recognition of the continually increasing number of youth being identified as trafficked or using sex as a means for survival, ACS utilized some of the grant funding to hire a consultant to develop a strategic plan towards best practice work with sexually exploited children. Resultant of the plan's recommendations, in 2015, ACS appointed Selina Higgins, LCSW-R, as its first Director of the Office of Child Trafficking Prevention and Policy (OCTPP), under the supervision of Susan Morley, ACS' Senior Advisor for Investigations. In 2017, in recognition of the need to provide closer connection and support to the agencies that care daily for trafficked and at-risk of trafficking children, on December 21, 2017 ACS relocated its Office of Child Trafficking Prevention and Policy (OCTPP) under the Division of Family Permanency Services' (FPS) Office of Older Youth Services (OYS). Although OCTPP Director Selina Higgins now reports to Assistant Commissioner Sabine Chery, Susan Morley will continue to work closely with Selina and Sabine, providing guidance and expertise. Although housed within FPS, OCTPP will continue to lead all aspects of ACS' policy and practice concerning trafficked and commercially sexually exploited children across all of ACS' divisions and programs.

OCTPP:

  • Manages the annual New York State Safe Harbor grant and other funding and collaborates with the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) and specialized providers to provide a continuum of services to support trafficked and at-risk youth
  • Maintains the Child Trafficking Database (CTDB). The CTDB allows assigned staff to electronically complete the mandated OCFS sex trafficking screening tools, thereby alleviating the use of paper tools for all cases except Advocacy (AVDPO) cases. The CTDB allows staff to view child trafficking screening histories of children on their caseload, input screenings and view caseload demographics relevant to screenings assigned. The CTDB permits every screening to be recorded and saved in the system for future access by a worker assigned to a child (and only when a worker is assigned to a child), and for administrative research and reporting needs, as required by Federal and State legislation. Phase II (service data and reports) of the CTDB is currently under development.
  • Maintains three electronic mailboxes, which ACS staff and contract and provider agency staff can use to make a notification of a potential trafficking case and request assistance concerning youth suspected to be, or confirmed as trafficked; request CTDB assistance; or inquire about trainings: