Honorable Karen Bass and AIW Founder Linda West
Angels in Waiting (AIW) is Working to End Child Sex Trafficking
Every year, in Los Angeles alone, at least 120 minors are sold into sex trafficking and the number of unreported child victims is likely much higher. Eighty percent of these youth are foster children. With few community and familial resources, these minors are often lured into the trade by trafficker’s deceptive offers of emotional and financial support—the lack of a stable and safe home makes these children vulnerable to the trafficker’s grasp. Once forced into the sex trade, children face violence on a daily basis and too many have been the victims of murder. Unfortunately the problem is systemic; often girls are recruited from group foster facilities by other foster kids on behalf of sex traffickers. Child welfare agencies throughout Los Angeles are diligently coordinating to provide innovative preventative and rehabilitative services to at-risk and rescued sex trafficked youth, but they need our help.
At a town hall meeting on November 21, 2015 AIW came together with local foster advocacy groups and government officials—including the Honorable Congressmember Karen Bass— to address this issue as a community. When asked to speak, our founder Linda West-Conforti, RN highlighted the ability of nurses to work against child sex trafficking if only the law (Title 22) was amended to include nurses as foster care providers of at-risk youth. With over 300,000 nurses in California alone, AIW could play an enormous role in bringing at-risk foster children into the hearts and homes of nurses. Nurse foster parents are skilled, comprehensive caregivers that can provide loving and supportive home environments. A stable home and supportive childhood is the best defense in preventing sex traffickers from preying on our children. The Honorable Karen Bass immediately agreed that nurses have great potential in providing stability and safety to this vulnerable population.
AIW is now beginning the process of working with Karen Bass’ office to change Title 22 so that nurses all over the country can be first responders in providing homes for foster youth threatened by sex trafficking. With your support, we will grow our administrative and strategic efforts in order to make change in the law as soon as possible—these youth are growing up in life threatening circumstances and can’t wait.
Your donation will allow us to be more effective and swift in laying the ground work for impacting the law. In 2005, AIW changed California law in order to give nurses priority consideration in the placement of medically fragile foster infants and children. Your support will enable nurses to lovingly serve this equally vulnerable population of children. Thank you for protecting and saving the lives and childhoods of foster youth through your support of AIW!
The Honorable Karen Bass and AIW Founder Linda West-Conforti, RN at the ‘Foster Youth and the Link to Sex Trafficking’ town hall meeting in Los Angeles 11/21/15.