National Judicial Institute on Domestic Child Sex Trafficking
The National Judicial Institute on Domestic Child Sex Trafficking (NJIDCST) offers training programs for judges that address the serious issue of child sex trafficking in the United States. Created in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and Rights4Girls in 2014, the Institute provides judges with a highly interactive educational opportunity to expand their knowledge of trafficking risk factors, victim identification, effective intervention strategies, cultural considerations, and much more. The Institute aims to instill a stronger sense of judges’ courtroom and community roles to help prevent and end domestic child sex trafficking.
Recently, the NJIDCST integrated a special segment titled “Judges Can.” “Judges Can” focuses on the real-world practical applications of the curriculum, which covers eight independent topical areas such as victim and perpetrator behavior, trafficking dynamics, culture, judicial decision-making, and the legal landscape of trafficking law. “Judges Can” allows participants to take a step back after each segment and explore how they can make immediate changes to their own judicial practice from the moment they return to their courtroom. By drawing upon the experience of some of the best and brightest judicial experts in the country, the NJIDCST helps judicial officers understand the steppingstones behind crafting a strong, sustainable response to child sex trafficking cases. “Judges Can” answers complex questions for judges like How do you talk to a child who has experienced trauma? How do you create a trafficking task force? What is the best intervention for dual jurisdiction youth? If you are a judicial officer who is looking for practical ways to respond to sex trafficking in your jurisdiction, we hope you will consider attending the next NJIDCST training.
Judge Pratt has been an integral faculty member of the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Child Sex Trafficking since its inception in 2014. Judge Pratt brings a high level of expertise to the Institute rooted in her experience in the STAR Court, a collaborative, victim-centered court that provides services to juveniles who have been commercially sexually exploited and are on probation for prostitution or related charges.
Judge Pratt was appointed as a commissioner in the Los Angeles Superior Court in 2006 and became a judge in 2016. She has been assigned to the juvenile delinquency court since July 2007 and in January 2012 began supervising the STAR Court.
Judge Pratt received a B.S. from the University of California at Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of Southern California. She practiced law in the private sector, representing Wall Street firms, for ten years both in Los Angeles and San Francisco. She then worked in the Los Angeles dependency court, representing the Department of Children and Family Services. While at the County Counsel’s Office she also handled several class actions involving the adequacy and delivery of services by DCFS.
Click here to see Judge Pratt’s court featured in a video by the Compton Business Journal.
Click here to read a Los Angeles Times article on the STAR Court.
Judge John Romero, Jr. has also been a valued faculty member of the Institute since 2014. Judge Romero offers his extensive knowledge on the role of the judiciary in responding to child trafficking along with his excellent facilitator skills to both educate and engage Institute participants on this important issue.
Judge Romero is the Presiding Judge of the Children’s Court Division of the Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Judge Romero also serves as a Therapeutic Court Judge for the Program for the Empowerment of Girls (PEG), an intensive multi-agency juvenile probation program for girls who have some type of violence in their history. Judge Romero began his tenure on the bench in 2003 as a District Court Judge. He is Co-Chair Emeritus of the Children’s Court Improvement Commission, a past member of the New Mexico Tribal-State Judicial Consortium, serves on the Board of Directors of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and served on the Resource Guidelines: Improving Court Practice in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases Revision Committee. He is a frequent trainer on issues related to juvenile justice and child welfare. He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law.
Yasmin Vafa has been a key faculty member and partner of the Institute from the very beginning. At each Institute, Yasmin shares her in-depth understanding of the issue of domestic child sex trafficking in the U.S., with a particular focus on the legal landscape.
Yasmin is the co-founder and Executive Director of Rights4Girls, a human rights organization working to end gender-based violence against young women and girls in the U.S. Her work and advocacy focus on the intersections between race, gender, violence, and the law. She speaks widely on these issues and educates the public and policymakers on how they affect the lives of marginalized women and girls. Yasmin has achieved several policies wins at the federal level, co-authored a seminal report mapping girls’ unique pathways into the juvenile justice system, and was the 2016 recipient of the Lois Haight Award of Excellence and Innovation from the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus. Prior to her work at Rights4Girls, Yasmin served as Acting Refugee Coordinator for Amnesty International Australia where she led the organization’s refugee advocacy and shifted national policy on the mandatory and indefinite detention of asylum seekers in the region. She received her B.A. from Boston University and earned her J.D. from the University of Florida, Levin College of Law.
The online resources page features a variety of issue briefs, research articles, sample protocols, curricula, and other resources for judges and other professionals looking to learn more about domestic child sex trafficking.
Various NJIDCST research reports have also been developed based on participant evaluations from the following Institutes:
The NCJFCJ’s National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ) staff conducted an analysis of the data collected over time in order to understand the cumulative performance of the seven training events (2014-2018) containing a total of 134 participants. The analysis centered around ~17 of the Likert Scale and Ordinal measures common between these institutes, including 15 areas of knowledge, satisfaction, and number of identified risk factors.
This project is supported by Grant No. 2018-CT-FX-K001 awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed on this webpage are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice or the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.