Child abuse and neglect is still pervasive in society, even though public awareness about these issues has increased. Child abuse and neglect are generally associated with mental and physical injuries to children. This abuse and neglect puts the child’s health and welfare at significant risk or harms them. The mistreatment can lead to physical, mental, and sexual injuries. Neglect and abuse can be emotional, physical, medical, and educational.
Human trafficking and servitude falls under the child abuse category if children are involved. It involves exploiting another individual and receiving money in exchange. Like adults, children can be trapped into this situation, and though it can happen to males and females of different ages, the majority of child trafficking and servitude victims are girls.
What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is forced labor and sexual relations. Labor trafficking can include working long hours for little or no pay, begging, or dealing drugs. Sex trafficking includes recruiting, obtaining, concealing, transporting, and providing a person for sex acts for payment. It can be pornography, stripping, or prostitution. Physical and mental abuse can be a part of both. These young victims may also be injured by their captors.
What are the Signs of Abuse?
Since child human trafficking and servitude falls under the category of abuse or neglect, these victims may exhibit the same symptoms. Children who are being abused can exhibit signs of anxiety or be very passive and withdrawn. They might be excessively compliant and afraid to speak up. Other signs include learning problems, aggressiveness, a lack of adult supervision, and showing up early and staying late after school. Some victims are afraid of their parents or caregivers. It is not unusual for them to be afraid of all adults, and they may also have problems eating and sleeping. Neglected children are often in need of medical care and may appear dirty.
Sexually abused children who show sophisticated, unusual, or bizarre sexual behavior and knowledge can also be exhibiting warning signs. Some of these children may also contract sexually transmitted diseases or become pregnant at very young ages. Nightmares, bedwetting, bleeding from private parts, and difficulties with sitting and walking are also telltale signs of sexual abuse. Anyone who suspects this kind of abuse should immediately report their concerns.
What About the Caregivers?
Parents and caregivers may act in ways that provide clues that point to different kinds of child abuse, including human trafficking and servitude. The relationship between the child and caregiver is worth considering. If the two have a negative relationship, rarely look at or touch each other, and repeatedly state that they do not like each other, these could be indications.
A lack of understanding of the child’s needs, a history of substance abuse, poor parenting skills, and an unwillingness to discuss the child also point to abuse. Families that seem very isolated, disorganized, and stressed may also have abused children.
High-risk caregiving environments include low income, poor education, young parents, a large number of dependents in the household, and non-biological, transient caregivers living in the home. Disadvantaged communities that face residential instability, poor social connections, high density of bars and liquor stores, and poverty can also put young children at risk.
Why is Reporting Child Abuse Important?
Children who are abused and neglected can experience long-term, negative consequences that impact their well-being. Overcoming the physical and mental effects of the trauma is highly challenging. However, intervention can help them thrive after maltreatment, so stopping the abuse early gives them a better chance.
The state of New Jersey provides many resources for preventing, detecting, and reporting child abuse, including cases of human trafficking and servitude. One of main resources is the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP). There are also home visiting programs, which work on evidence-based models. School-based support programs, community support programs, and the Enough Abuse Campaign are also available.
What if Human Trafficking is Suspected?
The New Jersey Department of Children and Families Policy Manual provides guidelines for classifying child abuse as human trafficking. To be considered as servitude, or the condition whereby a child is forced to perform labor, it must be domestic servitude, in a labor camp, or forced work that takes place at a public establishment.
To determine if there is servitude taking place, there must be evidence showing that the child was trafficked by a parent or caregiver or that the parent or caregiver did not take steps to stop the servitude. A victim statement attesting to the forced labor or services will also be needed. The type and extent of the servitude must also be provided. If physical evidence is not available, there has to be a basic corroboration between the victim’s statements and supportive information.
A DCPP investigation may take place, and the findings have to documented. This can include details about the time, location, and other descriptions about the abuse. The perpetrator may also need to provide a statement. In some cases, there may be multiple perpetrators. The child may also go through physical and psychological evaluations, which can be needed to connect the patterns of abuse.
If one is experiencing issues with the DCPP, it is important to contact a lawyer immediately. False accusations can lead to serious consequences, and a lawyer can help protect one’s rights.
Cherry Hill DCPP Lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker Help Clients Falsely Accused by the DCPP
If you need experienced legal counsel because of false allegations made by the DCPP, our Cherry Hill DCPP lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker are ready to help. For an initial consultation, call us at 856-795-9400 or complete our online form today. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Haddonfield, Marlton, Medford, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, and Voorhees.