Every day, hundreds of juveniles are sexually exploited in Minnesota. This exploitation occurs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year throughout the state – in every county, in urban areas and small towns, on farms and tribal lands. Early identification of minor victims of sex trafficking is essential to setting these vulnerable children on a more productive life path. Minnesota judges are in a unique position to accomplish this by identifying victims in their courtrooms and bringing together social services and community supports available under the Minnesota Safe Harbor law.
ZenMation partnered with the Minnesota Judicial Center to design and develop an online training program for over 300 Minnesota Judges throughout the State of Minnesota. The course is eligible for Continuing Judicial Education (CJE) credit and is designed to provide an introduction to juvenile sex trafficking.
The 70-minute course covers:
- The prevalence of juvenile sex trafficking in Minnesota and nationally
- Common vulnerabilities shared by many victims
- Physical and behavioral indicators of possible sexual exploitation
- Trafficker recruitment strategies
- Minnesota Safe Harbor law and “No Wrong Door” Model
- Courtroom best practices
Video-based instruction was used throughout the course to bring this difficult topic to life, including video interviews with sex trafficking survivors, Minnesota judges, a district attorney, the head of Minnesota’s Safe Harbor initiative and representatives from community-based organizations serving juvenile victims. A video role play between a judge and a potential victim was created to help demonstrate and reinforce effective courtroom practices. A library of web resources was also created.