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Tackling a Social Injustice

Human trafficking, and more specifically, commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), is a large and growing concern around the world. Florida is ranked third in the nation for the most calls to the national hotline for trafficking cases. This is happening globally and domestically, in urban and suburban areas.

Children, adolescents and adult survivors of human trafficking often experience a variety of social and emotional difficulties as a result of these traumatic experiences, sometimes a lifelong impact to physical, psychological and social/emotional development, including physical health challenges, psychological distress related to trauma and substance use issues.

Youth who have experienced significant trauma often require acute psychiatric or substance abuse treatment as an immediate need and ongoing therapeutic support to overcome trauma and build positive and lasting relationships long-term.

The Solution

In response to the growing rate of commercial sexual exploitation of children in recent years, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health developed a specialized clinical program specifically for sexually exploited youth. Some of the important aspects of the program include:

  • A comprehensive residential treatment program to provide a safe, nurturing and therapeutic environment to receive help from clinicians formerly trained to offer expertise in this area of need.
  • Family Treatment Homes to offer the opportunity to heal in a family-based setting with comprehensive therapeutic support delivered in the home setting by Devereux clinicians and supported by highly skilled and trained therapeutic foster parents.
  • Home- and school-based therapy and case management support for youth who continue to reside with their families and benefit from this specialized therapeutic support to stabilize the current situation, minimize the frequency of involuntary hospitalizations and juvenile justice involvement, in addition to increased overall well-being for survivors.
  • Prevention services to benefit all children and adolescents, offering complimentary awareness workshops and educational/consultation sessions for local parents, caregivers, education and health care professionals, and community members—so that preventative measures may be implemented, and therefore risk factors reduced, for the potential of exploitation in any form—including reduction of the potential risk of exploitation as a result of social media and online activity.  

“Our program includes multiple evidence-based treatment components such as trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, dialectical behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, individual therapy, group therapy, psychiatric services and coordination of treatment,” says Manal Durgin, M.D., the medical director at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Florida.

“The Devereux Florida team partners with clinical teams across the country to ensure a focused effort on providing consistent and effective care for the individuals and families we serve, along with an integrated approach to behavioral health care.” 

How You Can Help

Help raise awareness about CSEC. There are several ways you can get involved:

  • Seek support. Ensuring access for prevention and early intervention support is one of the most impactful ways anyone can be a partner in the fight against human trafficking. Referrals for direct therapeutic services and/or a complimentary parent and caregiver consultation can be directed to the Devereux DELTA team, the Devereux program specifically focused on the treatment and prevention of sexually exploited youth, by contacting  
  • Increase awareness and understanding of what human trafficking is exactly, the common risk factors associated with sexual exploitation, trends observed locally and statewide, and how to implement preventative steps to safeguard against these risks through Devereux information sessions. CSEC Information Sessions are provided at no cost for parents and caregivers interested in receiving more information and committed to protecting children and adolescence from trauma. Information sessions may be offered virtually or in-person, per schedule availability, through 
  • Become a family treatment home provider to offer the opportunity for a survivor to receive therapeutic support in a family-based setting, through licensure as a Safe Foster Home.  Devereux partners with the Florida Department of Children and Families and the lead agency for child welfare in each local area to provide the required training and support for the licensing process to provide specialized therapeutic foster family treatment for survivors of exploitation.  Recognizing not everyone is able to commit to this level of support for youth, raising awareness and sharing this opportunity with others helps increase capacity for the entire system of care for youth statewide. For more information, contact 
  • Help support our children through ongoing fundraising efforts to support the comprehensive needs of children and adolescents in this specific program. As a nonprofit organization, Devereux offers a variety of opportunities to be involved and dedicate resources to make a direct impact for the individualized needs of those served in this program. Opportunities are available to coordinate a fundraising activity to directly benefit youth in this program. Contact 
  • Become an advocate by contacting Devereux to receive an awareness kit and plan to wear a ‘children are not for sale’ bracelet, speak out and educate others on the growing need for awareness and support. Inspire others to get involved. 

Visit to learn more about how Devereux is involved in combatting this social injustice.

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health

Administrative Offices:

5850 T. G. Lee Blvd., Suite 400 | Orlando

(800) 338-3738 ext. 176422