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Safe Harbor Protocol Team Formation Starter Kit: A Guide for New Teams

Minnesota’s groundbreaking Safe Harbor law represents a paradigm shift in how our state views youth who have been sexually exploited—not as juvenile delinquents, but as victims and survivors. Since August 1, 2014, youth involved in selling or trading sex cannot be arrested for or charged with the crime of prostitution. Rather, exploiters— both traffickers and those who purchase sex—face increased penalties for their crimes.

To ensure an effective change to Minnesota’s statutes, Minnesota conducted a statewide multidisciplinary collaborative process that resulted in one of the most comprehensive response models in the nation for responding to commercial sexual exploitation: “No Wrong Door.” The No Wrong Door Response Model created a statewide infrastructure for service delivery, specialized housing and shelter, and training for systems professionals.

In partnership with the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, the Sexual Violence Justice Institute (SVJI) at the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA) developed the Safe Harbor Protocol Guidelines, a comprehensive tool that would help multidisciplinary teams across the state build a systems response to sexual exploitation that is tailored to the needs and resources of their communities. The Legislature also provided funding to assist teams in the development and implementation of local Safe Harbor protocols, ensuring that every community could truly become a “No Wrong Door community.” This became known as the Safe Harbor Protocol Development and Implementation Project, funded through the Minnesota Department of Health.

During the 2015-17 funding period for this project, SVJI worked with Safe Harbor Regional Navigators to identify multidisciplinary groups in each No Wrong Door Region that could demonstrate “readiness for Safe Harbor protocol development. For the purposes of Safe Harbor protocol development, the term “readiness” refers to a community’s ability to engage all essential partner and stakeholder agencies, as well as assess their willingness to commit time and resources to the process of systems change.

Trafficking Advocates, Preventionists, Responders to Sexual Violence Minnesota

Last modified: 7/7/2022