TOWSON, Md. — On Wednesday, the third annual Maryland Child Trafficking Conference was held at Towson University, focusing on child trafficking prevention and intervention efforts.
More than 500 people attended the conference, including survivors of trafficking and victim advocates.
They encouraged communities in Maryland to learn how to identify possible victims of child trafficking as well as understand the mental impact that trafficking and other trauma can have on young people.
“Child trafficking, which is classified by law as a form of child sexual abuse, must be addressed through a comprehensive, trauma-informed approached,” said Jessica Wheeler, Acting Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office for Children. “This is why we have been working closely with Child Advocacy Centers, law enforcement, and victim service providers in each jurisdiction in Maryland to tackle this problem head-on. We fully support events like this conference to bring everyone together, and spread awareness around this issue.”
According to the International Labor Organization, they estimate that there are more than 4 million victims worldwide with approximately 1 million of them being children.
The University of Maryland School of Social Work reported that between June 2013 and June 2019, Maryland agencies reported more than 575 cases of alleged child sex trafficking to the Department of Social Services.