FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            OJJDP

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2002                                                        202-307-0703








WASHINGTON, D.C.    Over 150 participants from across the country met here today at a Justice Department-sponsored national summit dedicated to eliminating child prostitution and sexual exploitation.  Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson opened the event, which brought together representatives from a variety of disciplines and perspectives, including child prostitution victims. The Office of Justice Programs’(OJP) Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) organized the event to address concerns relating to children who are sexually exploited through prostitution and pornography in the United States.


OJP’s Assistant Attorney General, Deborah J. Daniels, encouraged participants to build networks and share knowledge that would allow local, state and federal officials to take action on this issue.  “We need to enable our communities to rescue these children from the streets and the strip clubs and keep them away from the sociopaths who prey upon them,” Daniels said.  “In addition, we need to make sure that we’re working to prevent at-risk children from ending up on the streets and engaging in self-destructive behavior in the first place.”


The two-day summit is the initial step toward raising public awareness of the issues surrounding child prostitution, and equipping communities with tools and resources to help protect children.   J. Robert Flores, Administrator of OJJDP, pointed out the difficulties in addressing child prostitution.  “Child prostitution is under-reported, under-recognized and under-treated, and this conference is our opportunity to rectify those problems,” Flores said.


The event, Protecting Our Children: Working Together to End Child Prostitution, is being held today and tomorrow at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.  It includes personal perspectives from survivors and a Town Hall Meeting.  The meeting is open to the press from 12:30-3:30 p.m. today.


For more information about this and other Office of Justice Programs initiatives, consult OJP’s Web site at  Media may direct calls to Mary Louise Embrey at 202-307-0703.