- Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Region
Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $960,588)
Children’s National Hospital will expand its hospital-based services and partnerships to support minor victims of sex trafficking in the metropolitan D.C. area, the geographic focus of this proposal. The CAREs (Center for At-Risk Evaluations) Clinic is the only provider of specialized, comprehensive, trauma-informed medical and mental health services for minor victims of sex and labor trafficking in the D.C. area. A partnership between Children’s National Hospital’s Child and Adolescent Protection Center and its Division of Adolescent Medicine, and local victim-serving organizations, the clinic’s goal is to improve the health, well-being, and life outcomes of youth victims of trafficking.
The D.C. metropolitan area has a very high rate of trafficking activity due to its location at the nexus of several transportation routes (e.g., the I-95 corridor and 3 airports), higher than average incomes, and its large transient population of 6.2 million, of which approximately 775,000 are ages 10-18. While the true extent of the problem is unknown due to the clandestine nature of the activity, the National Human Trafficking Hotline recently reported Washington, D.C. as the city with the most substantiated calls per capita about suspected human trafficking cases. Since the CAREs Clinic opened in July 2017, we have evaluated and cared for more than 280 youth, the majority of whom are African American/Black girls ages 11-18. The CAREs Clinic evaluated 154 new referrals in 2019 and 70 in 2020, the latter reflecting decreased hospital patient volume during the pandemic.
Our clinic will directly benefit youth victims of trafficking for whom victimization occurred by addressing their emergent medical, mental health and forensic needs using evidence-based trauma-informed practices. We will provide access to a primary care medical home, ongoing mental health care, reproductive health services and specialty services such as nutrition and dentistry. Special focus will be given to fostering victim’s decision-making and agency as we increase their safety and serve as an ally on their journey out of trafficking. Partnering with the D.C. Human Trafficking Multidisciplinary Team and other essential community-based victim service providers, we will link victims to resources and assist in coordinating an individualized and comprehensive response for each youth.
This application meets requirements for two Department of Justice priority areas. The CAREs Clinic, as described above, provides comprehensive supports to crime victims, specifically minor victims of human trafficking. Our program also meets priority consideration requirements through serving victims who reside in high-poverty areas (as demonstrated in Attachment D).