What is Sexual Exploitation?
Per the MN Department of Health and Minnesota law, Minor Commercial Sexual Exploitation occurs when someone under the age of 18 engages in commercial sexual activity. A commercial sexual activity occurs when anything of value or a promise of anything of value (e.g., money, drugs, food, shelter, rent, or higher status in a gang or group) is given to a person by any means in exchange for any type of sexual activity. A third party may or may not be involved.
Safe Harbor/No Wrong Door
In 2011, Minnesota passed the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Youth Act, achieving two fundamental changes: first, prostituted youth are no longer considered delinquent but victims of sexual exploitation; and second, Minnesota was mandated to create a comprehensive, statewide framework for ensuring that sexually exploited children (and those at risk of sexual exploitation) receive victim-centered services.
Although passed in 2011, Safe Harbor did not take effect until August 1, 2014, to allow for the development of a statewide systems response, that was victim-centered, trauma-informed, and culturally appropriate.
The “No Wrong Door Model: A Comprehensive Approach to Safe Harbor for Minnesota’s Sexually Exploited Youth”, is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, and multi-state agency approach. It ensures communities across Minnesota have the knowledge, skills and resources to effectively identify sexually exploited and at-risk youth. Youth are provided with victim-centered trauma-informed services and safe housing. To learn more about the network being implemented in Minnesota to support victims, see the Minnesota Department of Health Safe Harbor website for more information.
If you or someone you know is being sexually exploited or trafficked, please contact a Regional Navigator in your area, or the Day One Hotline to learn more about services available in your community at 1-866-223-1111.
Safe Harbor Outreach Funding:
The outreach funding appropriated through Safe Harbors is to provide training to homeless youth providers and outreach workers on connecting and working with sexually exploited youth. The specific language in legislation states that outreach funds are awarded for, “statewide youth outreach workers connecting sexually exploited youth and youth at-risk of sexual exploitation with shelter and services.”
LSS/StreetWorks Activities to Reach Above Objective:
To accomplish the objective outlined above, StreetWorks was awarded funds to develop and offer training opportunities on working with sexually exploited youth to outreach workers and other youth workers statewide. This will be done in several ways:
- A kick-off 3-day train-the trainer institute on the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) conducted by New York City based Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS) — This was held in December 2015.
- Regular, on-going trainings that focus on core competencies to conduct high quality outreach to youth who have been sexually exploited. — Please see our Safe Harbor Training Resources for past trainings, and our Events calendar for upcoming trainings.
- Development of a curriculum that can be shared with new staff who are coming into the youth outreach and Safe Harbor youth services sector. — This curriculum is in process and with an anticipated release date in 2017.