The legislature establishes that child prostitution is a form of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC), and is a critical human rights and public health issue, which leaves vulnerable youth at a substantial risk of physical harm, significant pain, and trauma. As a result, the legislature determines that the children exploited in this manner should be treated as victims and not as criminals, therefore establishing that law enforcement will have the authority to transfer these victims to a service resource.
This act adds a new section to RCW chapter 7.68, which establishes that the Office of Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Programs (OHY) shall administer funding for 2 receiving center programs for Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth (CSEY). “Receiving center” is defined as a trauma-informed, secure location that meets the multidisciplinary needs of CSEY ages 12-18. The bill states that law enforcement and service providers ma refer youth to these programs or youth may self-refer.
These receiving center programs must:
- Begin providing resources by January 1st, 2020;
- Develop the eligibility criteria along with OHY for serving CSEY that allows referral from service providers and law enforcement; and
- Provide ongoing case management.
Furthermore, the receiving centers shall also:
- Include a short-term evaluation function that is accessible 24/7 with the capacity to evaluate the immediate needs of CSEY ages 12-18;
- Provide licensed residential substance use disorder and mental health treatment up to 1 year at the same location;
- Assess youth for mental health and substance use disorder needs and provide appropriate referrals; and
- Provide individual and group counseling.
OHY must also collect the following data:
- non-identifiable demographic data of the youth served; and
- locations that youth exit to after being served by the programs.
The data collected must be reported by December 1st, 2022.
It is important to note that SB 5744 also amends RCW 9A.88.030 to define that a person age 18 years or older, not a minor, is guilty of prostitution.
Conclusively, RCW 43.185C.260 is amended to include subsection (7) which states that a law enforcement officer may transport a suspected CSEY to an evaluation and treatment facility, including receiving centers, for purposes of evaluation for behavioral health treatment.
*Companion to SB 5744*