Children’s Advocacy Network Partners with Law Enforcement to Combat Child Sex Trafficking

The Children’s Advocacy Network got together with local law enforcement to form the Cenla Child and Youth Trafficking Care Coordination team in order to provide care coordination services for youth who are victims of human trafficking or high risk for such victimization.  ABC 31 News’ Joel Massey has more.

Children’s Advocacy Network Executive Director Kendra Gauthier said, “We are here today with some of our law enforcement partners to sign a collaborative agreement between them and the Children’s Advocacy Network that solidifies and formalizes a process for trafficking victims and how we approach them and how we provide services to them.”

Gauthier was instrumental in forming a care coordination team to combat child trafficking through partnership with local law enforcement.

“The primary benefit of having our partners here with us today is that it puts everyone alert as to what to look for and how to properly identify victims of trafficking so that when our law enforcement partners may roll into a crime scene and see children there they are now equipped on what signs to look for to determine whether that child may be a victim of trafficking.”

Gauthier says that trafficking is a big issue in the area.

“So a lot of people don’t realize that human trafficking is quite an issue here in central Louisiana.  People see things on TV and assume that’s what human trafficking is and not realizing that human trafficking can start as something as simple as sending a text message or a photo online on social media and then it sort of snowballs from there and so I think that people just need to be aware of different ways that children can become victims of human trafficking.”

Ashley Rubin with the Children’s Advocacy Network says that the new partnership will provide comprehensive services for victims from beginning to end.

“Sometimes those cases may fall through the cracks but with care coordination those cases are brought to the forefront and services are provided from the beginning all the way until the end.  There’s an investigation, case reviews, therapy referrals, any type of resources the child may need those services are provided through care coordination.”

Rapides Parish Sheriff Mark Wood says the partnership will allow agencies to pool their resources for the benefit of child victims.

“Everybody has their own niche or their own set of resources that you pool together. Be it in financial be it in investigative tools whatever you need and the more eyes you have out there on the street the better.”

The Children’s Advocacy Network has served Central Louisiana for more than 22 years.