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Protecting Our Children: Working Together to End Child Prostitution

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2003
11 pages
This paper presents the themes and recommendations of a 2002 national summit, hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice, on the problem of child and adolescent prostitution.
The summit brought together individuals from throughout the country who work with sexually exploited children and youth. The purpose of the summit was to have the participants share their knowledge, experiences, and observations about the problem and its solutions. The summit was attended by approximately 130 individuals who represented a range of disciplines and perspectives related to child and youth prostitution. The summit's anticipated outcome was a set of recommended policy considerations and action steps for Federal, State, and local levels. It was structured to facilitate discussion of five themes: prevention, treatment, research, investigation and prosecution, and provision of public and private services. Based on these five themes, participants were divided into five working groups that identified what works, what is needed, and what action steps should be taken to address the needs and gaps in the Nation's response to child and youth prostitution. This paper lists the central questions and concerns that were common among the working groups, many of which are addressed in this paper. The discussion and recommendations for dealing with these issues are presented under the following five areas: leadership and public awareness, service delivery, capacity-building, legislation and policy change, and research. Themes in the recommendations are treating the prostituted children as victims rather than offenders; providing these victims greater access to services; developing peer-driven programs that are victim-focused, gender-sensitive, and culturally appropriate; using consistent language to be adopted nationwide; identifying children through information-sharing and communication; having more effective prevention strategies and support; holding offenders (all involved in the chain of commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth) accountable for their actions; mounting a systematic effort to collect and analyze information about all aspects of the commercial sexual exploitation of children; and involving all stakeholders in developing, implementing, and/or overseeing strategies to prevent and serve prostituted children and youth.

Date Published: December 1, 2003