Any minor who has engaged in sexual acts for a fee or other promised payment (drugs, alcohol, other), loitered or solicited for sexual acts, or has been physically assaulted, threatened, or otherwise coerced into performing sexual acts is a sexually exploited child. Prior to the Safe Harbour Act of 2008, sexually exploited children were prosecuted criminally rather than treated as victims who need supportive services.
Advocate for, treat, and support child victims of child exploitation as well as educate the community on human trafficking and how to identify potential victims.
How We Do it:
Held mostly at our Suffolk County Child Advocacy Center, Safe Harbour offers medical and mental health assessments, peer specialists, case management, referrals for residential placement, therapy and counseling, vocational counseling, potential police intervention, and community education. When a child is referred to the program, a Case Coordinator meets with the child and their family to determine which services are needed. Peer Specialists meet weekly with the children to act as a positive role model, and vocational counselors help with resume writing, job readiness, and job placement. The young girls can also be part of Girls Group, a therapeutic support group, which offers art therapy, group bonding, and educational components.
The Outcomes of Safe Harbour
Since Safe Harbour’s inception in 2014, it has provided one-on-one services for almost 400 female youth.
Thousands of local professionals have been educated on sexual exploitation and how to identify it.
Over 60 young girls have participated in therapeutic support groups run out of local residential facilities for teenage girls.