The Child Center, Inc. in conjunction with the National Criminal Justice Training Center (NCJTC) invited area Multidisciplinary Team (MDTs) members to attend the Child Sex Trafficking for First Responders training held on December 4th and 5th, 2019 in Lake St. Louis, MO. The all-day class was designed for law enforcement investigators, human trafficking task force members, social service providers, prosecutors, and other professionals who work with children.

The training provided critical trauma informed information necessary to properly understand, recognize, and respond to cases involving child sex trafficking and exploitation of children. Attendees learned the dynamics of trafficking and exploitation to improve skills related to victim identification and recovery, interviewing techniques for recovered victims, and effective techniques for corroborating the investigation to hold the perpetrator(s) accountable.

“Law enforcement and professionals who work with children share the responsibility of working together to protect children from those who intend to do them harm. One of the most dangerous threats to children in Missouri is human trafficking. Often, when we hear about these types of horrific crimes we think that it could never happen around us, but it is imperative to understand that human trafficking is occurring daily right here in our community. Predators are developing new tactics to recruit children online, in our neighborhoods, and at our schools,” said Amy Robins, Supervisor of Forensic Services at The Child Center, Inc.

The Department of Justice has listed St. Louis as one of the top 20 cities for sex trafficking. Many of the factors that make our state a popular tourist destination also fuel sex trafficking, including: international airport, trucking industry (both sides of the river), numerous Interstate Highways; I-70, I-44, I-64, and I-55, bordering Illinois (which has a lot of clubs), home to an array of conferences and professional sporting events. After drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms trade as the second largest criminal industry in the world, and it is the fastest growing.

The MDT is a collaborative team of professionals who work both together and independently to investigate crimes involving children. The team works together to prevent redundancy, overlap, and confusion for the child victims and their families, and for the overall success of their investigation. Within the MDT Child Advocacy Centers, like The Child Center, Inc. exist to ensure victims have a safe, child-friendly environment to share about their experiences of abuse to a trained forensic interviewer while the MDT observe through closed circuit television. This environment not only reduces the trauma for the victim but also follows the national best practice standards for working as an MDT with victims who have experienced abuse, neglect, or witnessed a crime.

The Child Center, Inc. understands that interviewing high-risk victims and victims of human trafficking is different than a traditional Forensic Interview. The forensic interviewers are not only trained to conduct these unique interviews, but also explain and defend them through the criminal justice system. To learn more about how The Child Center, Inc. helps child victims of abuse please visit TheChildCenter.com