From The Desk Of Darlene J. Harris – Sexual Exploitation by Anne-Michelle Ellis
The following article comes from Ms.Anne-Michelle Ellis, Coordinator for San Bernardino Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation. This article is a great addition to And He Restoreth My Soul Project and I want to thank Ms. Ellis for her work with the sexually exploited.
As always, it is my hope that you will be enlighten by the information shared through this project.
Darlene J. Harris
Anne-Michelle Ellis Bio
Anne-Michelle Ellis was hired in December of 2010 as the first Coordinator for the San Bernardino County Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation which had been active for nearly two years at the time. She previously worked for Operation SafeHouse, a shelter for runaway and homeless teenagers in Riverside (1996-1999, 2004-2010) as a Childcare Worker, Grant Writer, Fundraiser and Education & Employment Coordinator and Case Manager. She also worked for Third Level Crisis Intervention Center in Traverse City, Michigan (2002-2004) as a Crisis Hotline Counselor and Community Resource Manager. She was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies from the University of California, Riverside in 2003.
The County of San Bernardino Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE)
The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) in the United States is an issue that, in recent years, has garnered more and more media attention. We are beginning to understand, at both a national and local level the full extent of the problem and the very real threat it poses to America’s youth.
Here are just a few statistics about CSEC in the United States:
The average age of entry into prostitution is 12-13 years old.
80-90% of victims of sex trafficking are survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Within 48-72 hours of running away from home, a child will likely be contacted and attempted to be recruited by a pimp.
Over 100,000 children in the United States are commercially sexually exploited each year.
In 2013, CASE served 77 survivors of sex trafficking under the age of 18 who were residents of the County of San Bernardino.
The San Bernardino County Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) is a partnership of public and private entities who have joined together to develop resources in the county to educate, prevent, intervene and treat victims of sexual exploitation.
History & Structure
The San Bernardino County Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation was formed in 2009 as an initiative by the District Attorney’s Office who saw the need to recognize children involved in commercial sexual exploitation as victims instead of criminals. District Attorney, Michael Ramos and Fourth District County Supervisor, Gary Ovitt called upon leaders from other child-serving County departments to enter into a collaborative effort to address the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in San Bernardino County. The Coalition has grown considerably since 2009 and now includes the following eight County of San Bernardino departments as well as community organizations, service providers and the faith-based community:
Children & Family Services
Superintendent of Schools
The Steering Committee consisting of one representative from each of the nine departments meets on a monthly basis to oversee program operations, review and approve expenditures and receive reports from the Coordinator regarding program updates.
In 2010, the County of San Bernardino, Department of Behavioral Health received funding through the California Mental Health Services Act Innovation Component to support the formation of a CASE multi-disciplinary team (MDT). That team currently consists of the following professionals:
Juvenile Probation Officer
Children & Family Services Social Service Practitioner
Department of Behavioral Health Social Service Practitioner
Public Defender Social Service Practitioner
Both the Children & Family Services Social Worker and the Juvenile Probation Officer carry reduced caseloads of children who have been commercially sexually exploited. The Department of Behavioral Health Social Service Practitioner assists with assessments and connecting the children on both caseloads to services in the community as well as conducts trainings for both governmental and non-governmental service providers and law enforcement countywide.
The addition of the Public Defender Social worker is a recent one and came about as the team discovered that many of the young people, especially on the caseload of the probation officer, were also represented by the Public Defender and had access to their team of social work professionals.
The CASE Team is overseen by a coordinator who works for the San Bernardino County Children’s Network. The Coordinator’s role is to oversee and coordinate the efforts of the program as well as to be the main point of contact. In addition, the Coordinator takes a lead role in delivering training, education and outreach to the community.
The Outreach & Education Committee meets on a monthly basis and is open to the public. Chaired by the CASE Coordinator, it aims to bring people from various fields together to connect with one another in their efforts to address human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Members include both county and non-county staff, service clubs like Soroptimist International and Rotary as well as community-based organizations and members of the faith-based community.
For more information, please contact Coordinator Anne-Michelle Ellis at (909) 383-9677 or email@example.com.
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