Serving Victims of Sex Trafficking
The use of any person under the age of 18 for sexual purposes in exchange for cash or in kind favors constitutes sex trafficking. It can occur between a child and a customer, the pimp/trafficker or others who profit from the trade of children for these purposes.
El Pueblo has been continually aware that at any given time one or more of its residents have been or are at very high risk of being involved in prostitution. In August of 2015, Jefferson County became the first Colorado County to request services for sexually exploited adolescents from El Pueblo. El Pueblo’s infrastructure, existing services and current approach to care provide an excellent framework for such specialized care.
The Warrior’s Heart program utilizes a comprehensive, collaborative case management approach as part of the victim centered services model. This program provides recovery, assessment, medical and mental health treatment of exploited children utilizing a non-punitive trauma-informed model care.
When officers from the Rocky Mountain Innocence Lost Task Force were asked for the best case scenario for a victim of sex trafficking after being recovered, officers told us “a facility like this one (El Pueblo Adolescent Treatment Community) or jail. The important thing is to get them out and away from the situation as fast as we can.”