Resource Letter:
For Judges and Attorneys Handling Child Protective Services Cases
January 23, 2020
Resources Related to Preventing and Addressing
Domestic Child Sex Trafficking
Children and youth in foster care, especially those who run away, are at an increased risk of becoming victims of human trafficking, specifically child sex trafficking. January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Texas has several resources available to judges and attorneys to help gain awareness and knowledge about child sex trafficking so that the legal community can do its part to identify child sex trafficking and appropriately intervene.

In 2015, the Texas Legislature and Governor Abbott created a Child Sex Trafficking Team (CSTT) to build Texas’ capacity to serve victims of trafficking and to raise awareness in order 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. The CSTT team, in partnership with Meadows Mental Health Public Policy Institute, created a Roadmap for Texas Communities to Address Child Sex Trafficking . CSTT also partners with Love146, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), and many others to provide trainings across the state. For more information, please visit the Office of the Governor’s website .

The Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) coordinates the statewide Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force. The OAG task force is focused on the prevention and prosecution of human trafficking crimes. The OAG created a digital training tool entitled “ Be the One ,” designed to improve victim identification. Information about red flags to help identify victims of labor and sex trafficking is also available on the OAG website .

The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation (HTCE) Division is charged with improving capacity at DFPS to identify, report, recover, and restore victims of trafficking for the children and youth served by DFPS. The agency has hosted two statewide Human Trafficking Summits and also leads the Administration for Children and Families Region VI Human Trafficking Workgroup in an effort to strengthen the coordination and response to trafficking with other nearby states. For more information, please contact Blanca Denise Lance, DFPS Director of Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation, at .

In 2019, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) developed an Issue Brief entitled Voices from the Bench: Judicial Perspectives on Handling Child Sex Trafficking Cases . The brief summarizes findings from interviews with judges around the nation who have developed a specialized approach to working with trafficking survivors. The NCJFCJ also created a series of one-page resources on the following trafficking-related topics:
  • What Should Judicial Officers Know About Domestic Child Sex Trafficking?
  • Who is Susceptible to Domestic Child Sex Trafficking and What Are Some Red Flags?
  • What Should Judges Know About Federal, Tribal, and State Domestic Child Sex Trafficking Legislation?
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For a complete list of Jurist in Residence 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 .