Resource Letter:
For Judges and Attorneys Handling Child Protective Services Cases
January 11, 2022
2022 Human Trafficking Prevention Month
January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month. According to the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services (DFPS), human trafficking, including the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), impacts children and youth of all ages and all genders. Children and youth who experience complex trauma, have a history of child welfare involvement, transition out of foster care, or run away from foster care are especially vulnerable to human trafficking.

Judges and attorneys may interact directly with children and youth who have experienced or who are at risk of commercial sexual exploitation. There are multiple resources available to support the legal community’s awareness of CSEC and to prevent, identify, and address exploitation among children and youth in foster care. Please see below for additional information about these resources:

  • The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) launched a Resource Center for Courts on Child Sex Trafficking. The Resource Center provides judicial officers and courts with tools as they address cases involving trafficking. NCJFCJ is also hosting a month-long series on the Role of the Court in Empowering Youth Survivors of Sex Trafficking and registration is available on the Resource Center's home page.

  • In 2015, the Texas Legislature and Governor Greg Abbott created a Child Sex Trafficking Team (CSTT) to build capacity in Texas to serve victims of trafficking and to raise awareness to prevent, interdict, and prosecute child exploitation. The CSTT team provides awareness materials, education resources, and research for judges, attorneys, child welfare professionals, and other stakeholders related to child sex trafficking, all of which are available on the Office of the Governor’s website.

  • In 2019, the Office of the Texas Governor and DFPS combined their efforts to fight child sex trafficking in Texas by creating the Governor’s Response Against Child Exploitation (GRACE initiative), which envisions ending human trafficking, helping survivors heal and flourish, and protecting the vulnerable.

  • On Thursday, January 20, 2022 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., the Children’s Commission’s is hosting a free, 1.5 hour webcast entitled, “The Texas Response to the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.” Panelists will include experts from the Office of the Texas Governor, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services, and Texas CASA. Please use this link to register for "The Texas Response to the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children" webcast.

By utilizing the above resources, judges and attorneys can actively engage in human trafficking awareness and prevention, to the benefit of children, youth, and families experiencing the child welfare system in Texas.
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For a complete list of Resource Letters, please visit the Children's Commission webpage. Information provided by the Children’s Commission should not be read as a commentary by the Supreme Court of Texas or any other court. The Children’s Commission website is not equipped to facilitate dialogue or conversation about matters related to the information in this communique. For more information about the Children’s Commission, please visit our website.