Sex trafficking is an issue that can touch any community. This week, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office learned the National Advisory Committee on the Sex Trafficking of Children & Youth in the United States selected Multnomah County Senior Deputy District JR Ujifusa to be its Chair.
“We know human sex trafficking is not siloed to one state or to one type of area within a state,” Ujifusa said. “This is a global issue and I am honored to be a part of this advisory committee that includes individuals with diverse experiences and backgrounds from jurisdictions across the country. These experts, all of whom are widely respected for their tremendous work in this field, will help us improve our response to the sex trafficking of children and youth in the United States.”
Ujifusa is considered a renowned human sex trafficking prosecutor. He currently heads the Human Trafficking Team for the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office and is cross designated as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Oregon.
The National Advisory Committee on the Sex Trafficking of Children and Youth in the U.S. will advise the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on the nation’s response to child sex trafficking.
“As a committee, we will be looking to identify a set of best practices for states to follow when it comes to combating sex trafficking,” Ujifusa said. “We know training needs to improve, protocols and screening tools must be developed to identify victims of trafficking and locate those individuals at risk of being recruited and for commercial sexual exploitation.”
According to its website, the committee will also make recommendations for administrative or legislative changes necessary to use programs, properties, or other resources owned or funded by the federal government to provide safe housing for children and youth who are sex trafficking victims.
“This is a tremendous honor for Senior Deputy District Attorney JR Ujifusa,” said Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill. “We have seen him revolutionize the way trafficking cases are handled in our jurisdiction. His victim-centered approach to handling a case is widely recognized as the best way to minimize re-traumatization.”
Increasing public awareness of human sex trafficking will be critically important to the committee.
“We still have a long way to go to educate the public and community about how damaging the demand for sex is, and how closely linked buying sex is to the traumatization of these individuals,” Ujifusa said. “Traffickers will target children and young adults to inflict mental, physical and even sexual abuse to force them into having sex with strangers for a profit. They use their power and manipulation to get these children isolated from families and loved ones. Our goal is to put the power back into the survivors’ hands and to get them the help they deserve.”
As part of the victim-centered approach, Ujifusa said communities across the country need to increase services for survivors.
“Even locally here in Multnomah County, we can do better and we’ve been at this for more than a decade,” Ujifusa said.
A key component to future success is to recognize that each victim has unique experiences and their treatment for medical and mental health matters must be tailored to a person’s individual needs. Increasing housing for survivors will also help when an individual may need a place to escape their trafficker.
The first meeting of National Advisory Committee on the Sex Trafficking of Children & Youth in the United States is scheduled for next week in Washington D.C.
- Click here to read the Charter of the National Advisory Committee on the Sex Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States.
Contact: Brent Weisberg, Communications Director