The SF Mayor’s Task Force on Anti-Human Trafficking released its 3rd Human Trafficking Report in April 2018. Read the report’s findings here.
In 2013, San Francisco made combating human trafficking a priority and established the Mayor’s Anti-Trafficking Task Force within the Depart. on the Status of Women. Through the advocacy of the Task Force, funding was set aside for a 24/7 response line to provide services to youth who have been sex trafficked in San Francisco.
Huckleberry Youth Programs was awarded the contract by the Human Services Agency to provide these services, forming the Huckleberry Advocacy & Response Team (HA&RT) in 2016.
The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) is a form of human trafficking and occurs when youth under 18 are sex trafficked, or induced to perform sexual activity that involves the exchange of sex for anything of value. Youth can be vulnerable for a variety of reasons, including lacking basic needs, homelessness, child welfare involvement, juvenile justice involvement, histories of trauma, mental health concerns, and lacking systems of support. This is a prevalent issue in the Bay Area, including in San Francisco.
HA&RT Services Include:
- HART provides services designed specifically for youth ages 11-24 who are experiencing commercial sexual exploitation or who are at risk. Youth are referred by child welfare, juvenile probation, school staff, medical providers, family members, peers, and self-referred. Services include:
- 24-hour response line to parallel child welfare’s response to allegations of exploitation
- Relationship-driven, trauma informed case management services and referrals to increase safety and stabilize in:
- Basic needs (food, clothing, etc.)
- Job training/employment
- Mental and physical health
- Prosocial activities
- Legal needs, including immigration status
- One-on-one prevention sessions that provide psychoeducation around trafficking, vulnerability, boundaries, power and control, and consent
- HA&RT served 109 youth between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018
- 90% of youth eligible for ongoing case management continued to engage in case management services
- HA&RT participated in city-level policy efforts around San Francisco’s multidisciplinary response to the issue of CSEC
- Satisfaction surveys are overwhelmingly positive. Youth have said the following about the program:
- “My case manager has helped me with my life goals and how to carry myself like I want to be treated.”
“This program has helped me so much I can’t say thank you enough!”
- “My case manager is a very good person and a good listener and helped me with all my problems.”
PROFILE OF HART CLIENTS
- 98 % identify as female
- 48% African American, 19% Latinx, 11% White, 8% Asian Pacific Islander, 10% unknown, 3% Native American
- The average age of a HART client over 18 is 19.6. The average age of a HART client under 18 is 15.4.
- Fast Facts
- 68% have had contact with the child welfare system
- 32% had have contact with the juvenile justice or criminal justice system
- 58 % are unstably housed or experiencing homelessness, including 20 youth over 18 and 39 youth under 18
HA&RT collaborates with the following partners:
- Human Services Agency (county child welfare)
- Department on the Status of Women
- San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center
- Department of Public Health
- Public Defender
- District Attorney
- Juvenile Probation
- Partner community-based organizations (housing providers, mental health organizations)
Case Managers have experience working with exploited youth and are trained to respond to their unique needs. Services can be provided in a variety of locations in the community and anyone, including youth, can make a referral using this Referral Form. Huckleberry Youth Programs also provides trainings and case consultation.
For more information about the Huckleberry Advocacy & Response Team (HA&RT), please contact Huckleberry’s Intervention Services Manager, Carly Devlin, MSW at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WATCH OUT FOR “LOVE” WITH STRINGS!
Huckleberry and the SF Human Services Agency have partnered on a public awareness campaign entitled, “Watch Out for Love With Strings.”
The campaign aims to educate former and current victims, as well as those at-risk, of the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).
CSEC is recognized as a form of child abuse that can often go unnoticed and untreated for extended periods before identification is made and services provided.
Foster children are particularly vulnerable, and this campaign seeks to raise awareness of potential exploitation among youth.