Child abuse can take on many forms, and in some cases come in the form of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC). The Office Of Juvenile Justice And Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) defines CSEC as “a range of crimes and activities (solicited, patronized or advertised) involving the sexual abuse or exploitation of a child for the benefit of any person or in exchange for anything of value (including monetary and non-monetary benefits) given or received by any person.” Exploiters target children who have histories of running away, abuse, and neglect. Some examples of CSEC can include but not limited to6:
- Child trafficking or the prositution of children
- Child sex toursim or commercialization of sexual activity with children
- Production of child pornography for commercial gain, and
- Online transmission of live video or images of child engaging in sexual activity
Sadly, demand for CSEC services is growing every single quarter. National data shows that online exploitation of children doubled during the last year, meaning even more children are at risk.
MACA is addressing CSEC
Our CSEC Service Enhancement Project expands services to victims of exploitation and trafficking with 12 CSEC Coordinators/Case Managers statewide (actual job titles may vary), funded by a multi-year Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) award from Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance. Every county has a designated CSEC Coordinator assigned to facilitate the CSEC Multidisciplinary Team (CSEC MDT) Response for youth identified as at-risk or commercially sexually exploited. The collaboration of the CSEC MDT is a critical support to both the child’s recovery and investigations into alleged exploiters. The CSEC MDT consists of the CSEC Coordinator, the Department of Children and Families (DCF), law enforcement responders and supportive service providers who work together to support youth safety and healing, and investigations into alleged exploitation.
We’re making continuous improvements to case management and coordination, and for information and referral to services including:
- Peer mentor programs
- Victim advocacy
- Emotional support, and
- Safety services.
Last year, 1,188 victims of CSEC received 31,775 services:
- 17% of the children helped were under the age of 12, and
- 55% experienced multiple types of victimization
In addition, we provided 176 outreach activities to increase community awareness of CSEC. We also convene the MA Child Trafficking Leadership Advisory Board, which consists of head of agencies and community-based organizations that service youth impacted by CSEC, to elevate innovative multidisciplinary solutions to child trafficking and exploitation.
A multi-year grant from the MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) allows us to conduct a statewide needs assessment to better understand the response and provider landscape regarding CSEC in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and to better understand the needs of children impacted by CSEC across the state.
With your support, we’ll continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the children who need us most receive the best possible care.