Do not revictimize human trafficking victims in residential facilities

When discussing whether to put victims of child trafficking in lock-down facilities, let’s not forget this:

Teens Tied Down and Shot Up With Drugs at Pembroke Pines Facility

Teens Tied Down and Shot Up With Drugs at Pembroke Pines Facility.


And this:


Source: CBS4 News Source

Video Shows Pembroke Pines Cop Punching Mentally Ill Girl.

And all of these:


Those may be extreme cases, but the day-to-day workings of the facilities are not much better. I read hundreds of pages of treatment logs from lock-down residential facilities every month. The records come from all over Florida and the country–and all of them tell the same story: violence (both legal violence from staff and illegal violence from peers), isolation, coercion, drugs, and pain permeate the programs. But in the logs they are called by clinical therapeutic-sounding names: restraints, incidents, time-out rooms, positive peer culture, and emergency treatment orders. I cannot remember a client ever calling to say how safe and cared for they feel in a program, even the clients who are doing “well” by the program’s definition. 

Our lock-down residential treatment facilities do not have the tools or experience to work with victims of human trafficking, and I have seen no conclusive studies that show this is even an experiment even worth trying. For approximately $11,000 per month per child (the going RTC rate), we can do better for our victimized kids than to revictimize them, or to teach them that coercion, pain, and financial exploitation is all they can expect from adults and those who claim to care.


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