Please vote YES on Senate Bill 688 – Child Sex Trafficking Screening and Service
This bill is of critical importance to save youth victims of sex trafficking, some of whom are only 9 years old.
These children need specialized services that are tailored to their age and the unique trauma they suffer as victims of sex trafficking. Senate Bill 688 creates the network of services they desperately need, bringing together state and local agencies and non-profit organizations focused on the well-being of these children.
Most counties do not have the specialized services needed in place to help these children. This bill will ensure that every jurisdiction in Maryland has a specialized service provider to coordinate with the state agencies and non-profit organizations to ensure the child victim gets the services they desperately need. Each jurisdiction has unique needs and concerns, and a coordinated service provider response is crucial to ensure that services reflect what needs of the children they serve.
In Minnesota, where a similar program has been in place since 2014, there were 358 child victims served in its first year. Three years later, there were 1,423 served, showing a significant increase in the need for coordinated services and a serious worry that children could fall through the cracks and be left behind without this bill.
Senate Bill 688 may be the only chance Maryland has to help these children victims. Please do not make them wait another year to get the help they need.