Addressing the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Problem
Arizona Foundation for Women has created a special year-long program called Training and Resources United to Stop Trafficking (TRUST), announced Alisa Chatinsky, AFW Chief Executive Officer.
The project is a multi-disciplinary approach to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts in Arizona. It will identify stakeholders and best practices in victim identification and response, and ultimately increase public awareness about the crisis as it relates to Arizona’s children.
The TRUST project aims to facilitate communication between groups, collect and centralize data and research, provide technical support to the juvenile justice system and social service providers, elevate the topic among key lawmakers and develop ways to educate the public about the commercial sexual exploitation of children. It will focus specifically to persons under the age of 18 induced to perform commercial sex acts. According to Shared Hope International’s Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: Arizona, published in 2010, “Arizona’s developed highway system, warm climate, high tourist and snowbird population, and wealth of convention centers and sports stadiums attract buyers and traffickers alike, making Arizona a target for domestic minor sex trafficking.”
The Arizona Foundation for Women has named Katie Resendiz as TRUST Program Director. Resendiz brings extensive experience in the anti-trafficking field. As a member of the training committee of the Phoenix Metropolitan Anti-Trafficking Task Force, she designed and delivered trainings statewide on victim identification and response. She participated in the Department of Justice Group on Human Trafficking of American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Children and severed as mentor for the Girl Scout’s Cactus Pine Council’s GS GEMS, a teen group focused on raising awareness and advocacy for trafficking. Most recently, Resendiz was a case work supervisor for Arizona League to End Regional Trafficking of the International Rescue Committee and was able to implement client-centered practices in direct service for victims of trafficking.
As program director, Resendiz will oversee four program fellows with who will tackle the issues from a multidisciplinary approach. Program fellows include a social worker and professor, attorney, marketing and public relations executive, and victim advocate. The fellows are: Kristi Hickle, Pooja Kedia, Angelyn Bayless and Valenica Johnson.
The team will work together to identify stakeholders such as key lawmakers, law enforcement, medical providers, educators, local and state government officials, business leaders, faith-based community groups and non-profit providers and funders. The program will gather and evaluate training curriculum and procedures to develop a concise library for best practices for victim assistance and intervention. “I am honored to work with such an esteemed group of women from diverse backgrounds. This cross-disciplinary approach has never been tried before, and I am confident Arizona can lead the way for progress in this tragic arena,” commented Resendiz.
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