PHILADELPHIA (December 30, 2021) – After yesterday’s conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell, Philadelphia Children’s Alliance (PCA) commends the survivors who bravely stepped forward to share their stories and continue their journey of justice and healing. PCA applauds their courage and stands in solidarity with all survivors advocating for change.
Following is a statement from Benita Williams, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance:
“The conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell demonstrates the vulnerability of children to human trafficking, a crime that often happens in plain sight. We must be vigilant in our support for children and families to ensure a case like this never occurs again. Together with our community, PCA’s staff and partners work to educate families in order to build a safer world for our kids."
Philadelphia is a physical human trafficking hub. Because of its airport and location along the I-95 corridor, the danger of human trafficking is ever present.
PCA is the dedicated agency in Philadelphia for providing client centered service to human trafficking victims who are youths aged 12 and under, including forensic interviewing, trauma-focused therapy, and court advocacy. PCA also coordinates the direct provision of medical care to be delivered at its child-friendly Philadelphia Safety Collaborative, a facility designed to minimize any additional trauma for victims.
Data on the number of trafficking victims is difficult to come by, precisely because victims are often living in the shadows and it is a widely under-reported crime. According to Polaris, the organization which manages the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 221 potential human trafficking situations were identified in Pennsylvania in 2020.
Tips for caregivers to help prevent child trafficking include:
Give your child’s devices a bedtime too. All phones, tablets and computers can be securely stored elsewhere during the night. Many predators seek children out between 3 and 5 AM.
Familiarize yourself with your child’s online life.
Cultivate open, nonjudgement communication in which the child feels safe to talk to you about the individuals they talk to online.
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The Philadelphia Children’s Alliance is an independent non-profit organization that promotes healing and justice for sexually abused children in Philadelphia. Using a multidisciplinary approach, we collaborate with our partners in child protection, law enforcement, and medical and mental health services to provide forensic interviews, victim support and counseling services at the Philadelphia Safety Collaborative, a co-located child-friendly facility.