Today's Law As Amended

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AB-223 Commercial sexual exploitation of youth: services.(2017-2018)



SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Worldwide, human trafficking is a $32,000,000,000 per year industry.
(b) After drug trafficking and counterfeiting, it is the world’s most profitable criminal activity.
(c) Although this issue was previously believed to be an international problem, current statistics show that human trafficking is increasingly a domestic issue.
(d) According to estimates by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), human trafficking or the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the United States currently involves over 100,000 children. The San Francisco Bay area, Los Angeles, and San Diego metropolitan areas comprise three of the nation’s 13 areas of “high intensity” child exploitation in this country, as defined by the FBI.
(e) Studies have estimated that anywhere from 50 percent to 80 percent of victims of commercial sexual exploitation are, or previously were, involved with the child welfare system.
(f) Law enforcement, probation, education, mental health, and public health systems, as well as nonprofit organizations, currently serve these victims, but often lack coordination in providing services. These systems do not yet consistently recognize these young people as victims who are subject to the cycle of commercial sexual exploitation. Although they are learning to identify victims, they do not yet have adequate service design, nor capacity, to provide specialized services. Integrated strategies are necessary in order to help child victims of sexual exploitation in California and to ascertain the service models and strategies that are effective in the recovery of the child and the child’s future.
(g) According to the California Child Welfare Council, there is a dearth of specialized placements and services to help youth and their families when commercial sexual exploitation occurs. Although legislation has recently been enacted to permit these victims to enter the child welfare system in order to facilitate placements and the provision of other essential services to these victims, and other important implementation efforts are underway, specially attuned services do not yet exist.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 4.35 (commencing with Section 18259.5) is added to Part 6 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

CHAPTER  4.35. Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Youth: Pilot Projects
18259.5.
 (a) The Board of State and Community Corrections shall establish a pilot project in each of the Counties of Alameda, Sacramento, and San Joaquin, if the county elects to participate in the pilot project. Each participating county may determine whether that county’s probation department or child welfare agency, or both the county probation department and county child welfare agency, shall create and operate a program funded by the pilot project. A program funded by the pilot project shall provide services to youth within that county’s jurisdiction in order to address the need for services relating to the commercial sexual exploitation of youth. The purpose of the pilot project is to test a service model, which includes, but would not be limited to, physical and mental health assessments, counseling services, and other services deemed appropriate by the participating counties, that would produce improved outcomes for youth victims of human trafficking.
(b) Programs created by the pilot project that receive funding pursuant to this section shall be licensed by the State Department of Social Services and may include, but shall not be limited to, services that do the following:
(1) Assess the youth victim’s condition, including a review of the extent of trauma suffered, physical and mental health, and the status of age-appropriate developmental factors, such as educational status.
(2) Serve exploited youth in a services-rich environment, including trauma-informed counseling services.
(3) Research options, make recommendations, and work to find solutions to provide specialized services and permanent placement solutions for the youth.
(4) Provide staff who are trained to work with, and experienced in working with, child sex trafficking victims.
(5) Include peer mentors in the design and provision of service delivery.
(6) Provide a plan for how to structure a protective setting secluded from the victim’s trafficking environment, which could include strategies such as a geographically remote location, staff protective presence, delayed egress, or any combination of strategies intended to protect the victim.
(c) The pilot projects established pursuant to this section shall be funded contingent upon an appropriation in the annual Budget Act. Funds appropriated for these purposes shall be administered by the Board of State and Community Corrections.
18259.6.
 A county that elects to participate in the pilot program and establishes a program pursuant to Section 18259.5 shall conduct at least one evaluation of the program’s impact and effectiveness. The evaluation shall include, but not be limited to, monitoring the program’s effect on youth being served, if any, and its effectiveness with respect to program participants, including outcome-related data for program participants compared to youth who do not participate in a program funded by the pilot project. The county shall submit the evaluation to the Board of State and Community Corrections and the Legislature no later than January 1, 2024. The report submitted to the Legislature shall be submitted in accordance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
18259.7.
 This chapter shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2025, and as of that date is repealed.