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Mayor's Task Force on Human Trafficking - June 11, 2014 - Meeting Minutes

Mayor's Task Force on Human Trafficking - June 11, 2014

Mayor’s Task Force on Anti-Human Trafficking

Child Sex Trafficking Subcommittee Meeting

Wednesday June 11, 2014 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

City Hall, Room 305

1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102


Cathy Cousart, SF Human Services

Glenn Eagleson, Dept. Children and Families/TAYSF

Kathy Baxter, SFCAPC

Ellyn Bell, SAGE

Amanda Berger, SF Demand Collaborative

B. Patrick Buckalew, Huckleberry House

Irene Casanova, Larkin Street Youth Services

Julius Deguia, SF District Attorney’s Office

Celia Flinn, Department on the Status of Women

Johanna Gendelman, Department of Health Services/FCS

Jill Jacobs, Family Builders

Minouche Kandel, Department on the Status of Women

Antonia Lavine, NCJW/SFCAHT

Alison Lustbader, SFCBHS

Delia Montiel, SF District Attorney’s Office/ Victim Services

Eva Morgenstein, Department on the Status of Women

Andrea Rush, SFCAPC

Ana Villagrán, SF Juvenile Probation


I.             Introduction, Agenda Review, and Minutes Review

The meeting was called to order at 1:33pm by Minouche Kandel. Attendees introduced themselves. The agenda was approved. The minutes from May 14, 2014 were approved [Baxter/Villagrán/all]


II.            Update On Emergency Response To CSEC           

The Department on the Status of Women took the proposal funding an emergency response to commercially sexually exploited youth to their budget analyst in the Mayor’s office, but it did not make it into Mayor’s budget. Funding may be available through the Department of Public Health which reissued an RFQ for Child Crisis Response Teams. SAGE has submitted a proposal to DPH to fund an emergency response under this RFQ. The possibility of getting the proposal funded through a supervisory add-back was also discussed. There is also possible funding in the state budget that is being proposed. The Children’s Amendment in San Francisco may also be a possible source of funding.


III.           Case Study Discussions

In order to frame the policy discussion, the group looked at how sample cases are currently being handled. The group discussed examples from Larkin Street and Huckleberry House

The Larkin Street case highlighted the need for an immediate connection to a CSEY specialist. Larkin referred the youth for services but she went AWOL before they could connect her with a CSEY advocate. This case involved a 20 year old, which also reaffirmed the target age group which was identified as up to 21. This case involved a youth who identified as a lesbian and felt uncomfortable in a South Bay shelter she perceived to be religiously affiliated, highlighting importance of outreach to LGBT youth. This example also shows the multiple ways that CSEY present, as “Jane” came directly to Larkin; she was not picked up by police and was actively seeking help.

The group discussed whether San Francisco should adopt a policy of never arresting commercially sexually exploited youth, particularly if we were able to implement a 24-hour response. There was not a consensus. Cathy Cousart noted that if even if an agency hooked the youth up with services, many times, they go right back out. When the child is 13 years old, juvenile hall can keep them safe.

Jill Jacobs urged the group to look at where the children are being placed, to think of ways to build safe spaces and focus on existing family networks.

Patrick Buckalew discussed a sample case from Huckleberry House that was successful. They were able to connect the youth to SAGE, and a CPS social worker. She told staff she was having sex for money and was fearful that her boyfriend would be angry with her. After talking with SAGE, she went AWOL, but said she would follow up with SAGE. She later showed up at CPS, and willingly went into placement at a group home outside of San Francisco.

This case was successful because the youth stayed until morning, which usually does not happen, SAGE came right away, and there was an incredible social worker. When everyone works together, it works out really well and timing is crucial.

In another Huckleberry case, the youth was 16, picked up at 3 am by the San Francisco Police Department, and brought to Huckleberry House. She refused to stay the night and went AWOL within an hour after eating. Huckleberry House gave Jade information about SAGE and gave her information to SAGE.

Ms. Cousart expressed concern that in the past, youth engaging in commercial sexual activity were found by police on the street and brought to CPS. Now that everything is on the internet, the youth are not easy to find.

Alison Lustbader noted the need for specialized shelters for commercially sexually exploited youth just as there are specialized shelters for domestic violence survivors.

Ellyn Bell noted the need to work with what we have, and see if we can use existing youth shelters to work for this population.

Ms. Lustbader suggested the option of having a regional facility from which different counties draw. For some youth it would be helpful to be in one intensive treatment place away from the city.

It was pointed out that that no one size fits all.

Ms. Jacobs discussed the model of working with transitional age youth and homeless youth, where there is a separation from family because family members are the abusers. There is an immediate need to reach out to extended family, people with whom the child will feel a sense of belonging, cared for, and engaged with, known as “emergency family finding.

Kathy Baxter reminded the group about the failure of the previous experiment of creating a group home facility for commercially sexually exploited youth. It would be helpful to go back and assess what had happened and why the youth did not stay although everyone was at the table, and a lot of money was raised for the facility.

Ana Villagrán asked the group what people see as fearful about holding youth who need to be safe in a detention facility to stabilize them, knowing ultimately they would not end up with a permanent damaging extensive record.

Ms. Bell stated that the aversion was to the sense of criminalization at the facility, and despite the best intentions of the juvenile probation office, the children still feel a sense of being punished for having been victimized. Survivors have said that all detaining is traumatizing to victims, especially detention centers.

Ms. Villagrán noted that San Francisco is more lenient and youths are not detained unless they absolutely need to be or are reoffenders. She stated that if the youth are endangering themselves with their lifestyles, they are held for own protection, for example while testifying against others. Juvenile Probation Department has a small unit of girls and four empty units that are wasted space.

Glenn Eagleson commented that that the Log Cabin program would be perfect: kids can breathe and relax and do something outside of San Francisco. There is no barbed wire but there are uniforms.

Ms. Villagrán agreed, stating that the kids there are getting good programming: horticulture, wood shop, GED programs, and putting on Shakespeare plays. She believes there should be something comparable for girls, but it would take a lot of money to revamp.

It was pointed out that we do not detain other victims “for their own good.” Even if we have best intentions in the world, for the youth going through this, the system that is responding to them is the same one that is responding to people who commit crimes.

Based on the data provided by Juvenile Probation Department and community groups, most youths come in through community organizations and not through the Juvenile Probation system.

It is difficult to figure out best practices as many programs are still in early stages and there is no evidence from programs that have been evaluated.

Ms. Lustbader noted that kids that can go into shelters on their own are the ones making good choices. The adolescent mind does not respond to consequences, so these youths are hard to treat and there are not identified programs that work, similar to problems with treating adolescents with substance abuse.

Ms. Bell stated that we cannot have one solution. She stated that the group should work with the different structures: 1) trying to get youth with a family; 2) creating voluntary program with SAGE, where kids want to stay and help them attach safely; and 3) work with Juvenile Probation Department. The proposal created here has statewide consequences and not everyone is going to be as progressive as San Francisco. The program created has to have more attachment than the pimp or boyfriend or whoever brought them into that system.

Ms. Lustbader suggested dividing up in separate committees, with county agency staff discussing county system response and then non-profit staff working on the 24-hour model and staffing Larkin etc. She suggested the group was divided on principle. It was decide to discuss a process for moving forward on this protocol at the next meeting.

Ms. Jacobs suggested that the city needs different interventions and systems, especially to address mental health issues, and a continuum of services, many individual interventions: not a one-size-fits-all model.

Different kids are going to come from different places and the group is talking about different kids: system kids vs. non-system kids. A problem arises when all people forced into one system.


IV.          Next Steps

The group decided to meet once more during the summer: July 16, 2014, 3pm- 4:30pm. The group determined that they would prefer to meet in City Hall than 850 Bryant.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:03 pm. 

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