Working together to prevent and respond to sex trafficking in our community
Multnomah County's Response
Over the past decade, Multnomah County has invested in gaining a better understanding of the scope of the issue of sex trafficking in our community. The County has also committed to fortifying a robust collaborative response to address it. Awareness among law enforcement agencies, service providers, and policy makers has grown considerably, as have cooperative efforts. Investment in taskforces and multi-disciplinary collaborations has bolstered initiatives in training and identification, service enhancement and provision, and developing federal legislation.
Multnomah County established the Multnomah County Sex Trafficking Collaborative (formerly the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) Steering Committee) in 2009 with a grant funding received from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). The OJJDP grant was awarded because of the dedication demonstrated by law enforcement and service providers.
In 2008, a network of agency collaborations began to address the needs of individuals who have experienced trafficking:
- Portland Police Bureau (PPB) and the Sexual Assault Resource Center (SARC) collaborate on crisis response, and relationship-building through long-term supportive case management with victims.
- Lifeworks NW begins addressing mental health needs of people experiencing sex trafficking.
- Janus Youth Programs begins identifying minors experiencing sex trafficking accessing their shelter services.
- Oregon’s Department of Human Services (DHS) creates the first specialized unit to address the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) cases in the nation.
- Portland Police Bureau assign detectives to the Sex Abuse Unit to specialize on these cases and creates the Sex Trafficking Unit (STU).
- DCJ develops a trafficking specific caseload to supervise individuals who have committed trafficking as well as those who are or have experienced trafficking.
- Multnomah County District Attorney’s office develops their Human Trafficking Team which includes two assistant district attorneys and an advocate.
- Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) hire a jail intelligence sergeant to begin collaborating on data regarding trafficking behaviors.
- All partners take a victim-centered approach and rely on collaboration to support survivors and ensure they get the help they need.
With the award of the 2009 OJJDP grant, these partnerships were solidified and provided significant funding for services for those who have experienced trafficking.
A second grant from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) increased the capacity of Multnomah County, SARC and JYP to serve the adult population. The funds from the Domestic Victims of Human Trafficking (DVHT) grant supported the development of a leadership team called Sex Trafficking Enhancement Project (STEP). STEP serves as a sub-committee to the larger CSEC Steering Committee and focuses on partnership and service development. More importantly, the DVHT funds provided resources for more adult survivors to have comprehensive case management and 24-hour emergency response.
With the closure of Athena House in 2017 and the sex trafficking/CSEC program at SARC, a request for proposal was introduced by Multnomah County to funded services for youth who have or are at risk of experiencing sex trafficking. A collaborative application received the funding, which was comprised of New Avenues for Youth, Call to Safety and Raphael House of Portland. This new program, called New Day, begin serving youth 12-25 beginning in July of 2018.
The Collaborative is Chaired by Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal, and coordinated by the sex trafficking program strategist position within the Department of Community Justice (DCJ). The Collaborative was established to bring together active partners in our jurisdiction to improve the community response to sex trafficking of youth and young adults.
The Collaborative brings together active partners in our jurisdiction to cooperatively address and share ideas in an effort to enhance identification and support of survivors; better investigate, prosecute and supervise offenders; and increase education, prevention, and civic engagement within the community.
The core partners who provided the majority of services to youth and young adults also make up the Collaborative’s executive team. The executive team is comprised of a small group of local leaders who shape the strategy and focus of the collaboration. This team of core partners considers capacity issues, gaps in our system, and recommendations for improving our efforts. This meeting is by invitation only and is held six times a year. This document outlines the roles and responsibilities of the existing collaboration among the executive team in regards to crisis response. This document is not an all-inclusive description of the agencies’ roles and responsibilities.
The Multnomah County Sex Trafficking Collaborative Executive Team exists to provide leadership and guidance toward the highest functioning system in our community through:
- Building and maintaining trust and positive relationships
- Address system issues as needed and support continued movement towards the highest functioning system
- Creating sustainable systems and processes
Executive Committee Members
- Multnomah County, Commissioner District 2
- Multnomah County, Department of Community Justice
- Multnomah County, Department of County Human Services
- Multnomah County, District Attorney’s Office
- Multnomah County, Sheriff’s Office
- State of Oregon, Department of Human Services Child Welfare
- Federal Bureau of Investigations
- City of Portland, Police
- City of Portland
- United States Attorney’s Office
- Survivor Survivors: New Avenues for Youth, Raphael House of Portland, Call to Safety, Safety Compass, Lifeworks NW, Morrison Family Youth Services
- Subcommittee Chairs
- We use collaborative learning and proactive approaches to solve problems
- We assist in providing access to trauma informed services
- We believe justice includes supporting survivors and accountability
- We support a culture of life-long learning and curiosity, and respect different contributions of knowledge to this work
- We strive to be culturally responsive in our work
- We value transparency
- We strive to be optimistic
To support effective and positive work together, the leadership team strives to uphold the following norms:
- Speak your truth responsibly (be honest but kind, respecting different points of view, expertise and knowledge)
- Listen with care and with the intention to understand (be completely present, while setting aside your own judgement)
- Disagree AND look for common ground -- seek solutions that will work for the whole
- Use direct communication (if conflict arises, discuss directly with that person or agency, and continue to honor the person/agency inside and outside of collaborative tables)
- Assist each other to be direct in communication
- Ask for and assume positive intent, and honor impact (with the understanding that people have their own experiences and points of view. Remember that everyone is doing their best and that we are in this together)
- Share air time (challenge yourself to voice your opinion, experience, and perspective and make space for others to do the same)
- Bring curiosity
- Be transparent whenever possible
- Stay in the room and in the conversation at meetings
- Accept that we may not all agree or be able to make a decision (partners may need to go back to their organization to confirm agreements)
- Maintain confidentiality on issues upon request by a member(s)
- Do not give up on working together -- seek to understand and follow up if needed
Materials to Learn more
Much work has been put into documenting the various efforts that have taken place. As we know, any time something is put in print it is almost immediately outdated, however, the documents below will hopefully provide further insight to the work of the Multnomah County Sex Trafficking Collaborative.