The Bigger Picture of Recovery: Working with CSEC Clients
Spring is in the air and Mosaic Georgia is ready! The weather is gradually warming up. COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out to our friends and neighbors. It feels like there’s FINALLY light at the end of the tunnel! While we’re looking forward to “springing” into this new season, we are also eager to engage in more work with a very important group of youth we serve: CSEC clients. Back in October we had the privilege of joining CACGA (Child Advocacy Centers of Georgia) in providing human trafficking intervention services (1-866-ENDHTGA). But what happens next? What exactly is involved in working with CSEC clients?
When we welcome CSEC victims, we are receiving referrals directly from CACGA or law enforcement. This means that these youth either have experienced or are at high risk of experiencing trafficking or exploitation. Mosaic Georgia’s CSEC response includes a lot of communication and coordination with the youth’s non-offending parent/caregiver, law enforcement, and other state agencies involved with the youth.
Upon arrival, youth are met by our CSEC response team who create a calm environment and get to know the youth and explain why they are at Mosaic Georgia and the next steps. An assessment process begins to better understand the youth’s life circumstances. Our CSEC assessment may include gathering history, a forensic interview, a medical exam, and advocacy to determine if the commercial sexual exploitation has occurred.
Mosaic Georgia coordinates a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) approach for each youth, based on their circumstances to ensure they don’t fall through the cracks. The MDT is comprised of government partners including law enforcement, and may include DFCS, juvenile court, Guardian Ad Litem, and Mosaic Georgia’s specialists in medical, counseling, legal, and advocacy. This collaborative approach improves law enforcement investigations of perpetrators, raises issues that may not otherwise be expressed, and maintains a focus on the best interests of the child/youth. The CSEC Advocate learns of plans in place or forthcoming resources from partners that inform the youth’s action plan.
After assessment and review by the MDT, the youth and their CSEC Advocate collaborate together on a plan of action, to improve their safety, reduce future risk and move forward from trauma. Plans may include basic life essentials, support for the parent/guardian, education supports, probation or juvenile court issues, mental health and life skills counseling. It’s important to remember that commercial sexual exploitation of a child is traumatic for both the client and their family. CSEC Advocates are dedicated to working with the client’s families as well and connecting them with tangible resources to support health and healing.
In 2020, we began working with eight youth who were sexually exploited for commercial purposes. Surviving trafficking is a long journey. There is no time frame to how long we work with CSEC clients.