Implementing Minnesota's Safe Harbor Protocol Guidelines for Sexually Exploited Youth

Caroline Palmer, JD & Sarah Florman, MPA | September 21 | 9:00-10:00 AM | Room 3020

Topic: Legal, Direct Service | Knowledge Level: Advanced

In 2017, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office and Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA) released the Safe Harbor Protocol Guidelines (available at The guidelines were developed over the course of three years with input from some 200 professionals who encounter sex trafficked and sexually exploited youth. The five principle values of the Guidelines are: victim-centered, trauma-informed, youth-centered, culturally-responsive, and strengths-based. The Guidelines were funded with an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature. Once the Guidelines were completed, the next logical step for the state was to implement the protocols through a multidisciplinary team process. MNCASA, a national technical assistance provider for the Office on Violence Against Women/Department of Justice, secured funding from the Minnesota Department of Health to lead an implementation process. Five pilot sites in urban, suburban and rural Minnesota were selected in recent months to coordinate their efforts through the assistance of MNCASA. The presentation will describe the process of creating the guidelines and explain the goals of a multidisciplinary approach for protocol development and implementation. The presentation will also recount the experiences of the pilot sites, addressing successes and challenges. All of this information will be presented within the context of how Minnesota built its Safe Harbor for sexually exploited youth response by establishing a system of regional navigators and services statewide and working to center survivor experience in its efforts.

Presentation Objectives:

·  Describe the process of creating statewide guidelines for multidisciplinary response.

·  Explain the development and implementation of protocols to assist sex trafficked/sexually exploited youth.

·  Demonstrate the success and challenges associated with creating a statewide response.

About the Presenter