Having more than six years of work experience in law enforcement, I can easily see both sides of this issue. I have always had a heart for trafficking victims, but on the law enforcement side of things, I can understand the need to “detain” these victims in some way in order to provide them with necessary services and shelter.
Though I am early into my research on this subject, I am astounded at the difference between federal and state laws. The federal government views such minors as victims who are eligible for specialized services, while many states treat these minors as offenders. Even in those states with safe harbor statutes, there may be a disconnect between the statute and law enforcement implementation. I am excited to do more research on this issue to see if, or how, the courts have handled this subject.
This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student staff member. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.