Helping Sex Trafficking Victims Family Service of RI, Providence Police, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Share Expertise at San Diego Conference

The decade-long partnership between Family Service of Rhode Island and the Providence Police Department, and their work on sex trafficking issues, will be a focus of an upcoming international conference in San Diego on Wednesday, January 27th.

The 30th annual “San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment” is sponsored by the Chadwick Center at Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego, and the University of California School of Medicine in San Diego. The conference’s focus is on multi-disciplinary best practices to prevent, investigate, treat and prosecute child and family maltreatment.
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Foto – Providence Police Det. Koren Garcia and Family Service of RI’s Providence Police liaison Carla Cuellar

Col. Hugh Clements T. Clements, Jr., Providence’s police chief, and Family Service of Rhode Island senior vice president Susan Erstling, PhD will present «Partnering With Police: Current Practices and Lessons Learned around Early Identification of Rhode Island Minors at High Risk for Sex Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation.”

Family Service of Rhode Island, a statewide non-profit, has partnered with the Providence Police for more than a decade on crime prevention and victim services. Family Service of Rhode Island also partners with the Rhode Island State Police and the East Providence Police on similar initiatives.

As part of the presentation, Family Service of Rhode Island has developed a video featuring Providence Police Detective Koren Garcia and Family Service of Rhode Island’s police liaison Carla Cuellar discussing how they work together with victims on issues relating to the legal system, emotional trauma, and medical care, and the role of Hasbro Children’s Hospital’s Child Safe Clinic. The video is posted at or by clicking here. “I urge everyone interested in sex trafficking issues, particularly persons in law enforcement and social work, to watch this video. It provides a real-world look at the day-to-day problems confronting victims and first providers,” said Dr. Erstling. She noted that January is “Human Trafficking Awareness Month.” Dr. Erstling is senior vice president of trauma, loss and children’s services at Family Service of Rhode Island, which is the regional site for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

“We are pleased to share the firsthand practical knowledge we have on helping traumatized victims with professionals from across the nation and beyond,” said Margaret Holland McDuff, CEO of Family Service of Rhode Island, who helped create the agency’s partnership with the Providence Police a decade ago.

Col. Clements and Dr. Erstling will be joined at the presentation by Amy Goldberg, MD, pediatric specialist at the Lawrence A. Aubin Child Protection Center, Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Dr. Goldberg will address the pediatric and medical aspects of child sex trafficking as well as collaborative strategies in conducting interviews, medical evaluations, and follow up care to reduce re-traumatization, avoid criminalization and to recognize the significant developmental and physical aspects of having been commercially exploited.