Drs. Ryan Shields and Elizabeth LetourneauI’m thrilled that Dr. Ryan Shields and I were featured in this month’s issue of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Magazine. The article, Safer Harbors: Emphasizing Prevention Over Punishment, wonderfully written by Maryalice Yakutchik, discusses our newest research project on Safe Harbor legislation, which we’re launching soon.

Safe Harbor laws protect children who have been arrested for prostitution by directing them to supportive services and shielding them from prosecution. There are still too many people who believe that children in these instances are not victims, but are committing adult offences and should be charged accordingly. For more on this research, be sure to download Child Sex Trafficking in the United States: Identifying Gaps and Research Priorities from a Public Health Perspective, a white paper that resulted from a symposium with the Advisory Council on Child Trafficking (ACCT).

I’m glad to see more news coverage of Safe Harbor laws and child sex trafficking in the last few months. From lawmakers in Georgia pushing for stronger penalties for sex trafficking while protecting child victims to traction in the federal government by Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa co-sponsoring the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act in Congress, this topic is important and more than ever, we are coming to agreement that children who are victims of sex trafficking should be shielded from arrest and given the support they desperately need.