skip to content
Primary navigation



Tuesday — February 11, 2020

Conference purpose 

Safe Harbor has been implemented for five years to create a no wrong door system of services and response for sexually exploited and trafficked youth. The purpose of this two-day conference is to take Safe Harbor to the next level in Minnesota by enhancing relationships and collaboration between all individuals or agencies working against labor trafficking, sex trafficking or sexual exploitation while including survivors as partners in the response. This conference will help to define the vision for the future of Safe Harbor in Minnesota while continuing to embody the core values of Safe Harbor. 

7:30 a.m. — 8:45 a.m. | Registration and breakfast

Provided outside the Minnesota Room.

9 — 9:30 a.m. | Tribal blessing and drum ceremony

9:30 — 9:45 a.m. | Welcome from Safe Harbor leadership team

9:45 — 10:45 a.m. | Opening remarks — A decade later: Safe Harbor’s evolution in ending sexual exploitation and abuse

John Choi, Ramsey County Attorney 

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi will talk about the early days of the movement for Safe Harbor in Minnesota, including the press conference he hosted in February 2011 which helped galvanize awareness and momentum. There, County Attorney Choi and several colleagues announced they would no longer charge youth who were being trafficked as delinquents, but instead, adopt a victim-centered approach, recognizing them as children in need of protection and services. He then focused his leadership collaborating with the broad coalition of advocates, law enforcement partners and victim/survivors marshalled by the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota to raise awareness, pass the Safe Harbor law, change systems of response and secure sustainable funding to provide the resources victim/survivors need to heal and rebuild their lives. County Attorney Choi will reflect on this journey, the victories we’ve won together, and the path that lies ahead in combatting sex trafficking and other forms of domestic and sexual violence in Minnesota. 

10:45 — 11:00 a.m. | Break

11 a.m. — 12 p.m. | Breakout Session 1


12 — 1 p.m. | Lunch

Lunch is provided in Minnesota I-II

1:00 — 2 p.m. | Plenary Session

The Role of Child Protection/Child Welfare in Building Trafficking-Resistant Communities: Applying a Community-Centered Approach

Speakers: Sarah Curtiss and Noelle Volin bios >> 

A trafficking-resistant community is one that implements strategic structural investments to ensure that systems are not only working toward protection of victims and at-risk youth, but also developing practices and policies that prevent trafficking and exploitation from happening in the first place. 

With Minnesota’s Safe Harbor/No Wrong Door system, stakeholders envisioned a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, and multistate agency response model in which communities would adopt a three-component approach: Services, intervention and prevention. 

This approach not only informs the systems response once harm has occurred, but contemplates the environmental factors and societal norms that contribute to victimization. While child protection and child welfare are typically associated with the systems response once harm has occurred, these agencies are uniquely poised to leverage expertise in working with at-risk youth, agency-level collaboration with relevant systems, and a state and local network of community resources to help build trafficking-resistant communities. Participants will be provided with an overview of community-level prevention of trafficking and exploitation; help to identify and understand the implications of community-level risk and protective factors; and provide practical, implementable strategies for embedding a community-centered approach for all levels of agency work. 

2 — 2:15 p.m. | Break

2:15 — 3:15 p.m. | Breakout Session 2

3:15 — 3:30 p.m. | Break

3:30 — 4:30 p.m. | Breakout Session 3

Regional Coordination in Minnesota − Moving Safe Harbor Forward: 

Seven breakout sessions facilitated by Safe Harbor regional navigators to highlight discussion opportunities to improve and expand Safe Harbor in each region of the state.

This session will be an interactive discussion of the Safe Harbor response and resources throughout each region. The focus is on how to continue to strengthen collaboration among community partners in the region.

Northeast Minnesota
Breakout room 1 (Governor’s Room), Facilitated by Mel Alvar, northeast regional navigator, PAVSA

Central Minnesota
Breakout room 2 (Pelican Room), Facilitated by Kate LePage, central regional navigator, LSS Brainerd

West Central Minnesota
Heartland I, Facilitated by Anne LeFrinier-Ritchie, west central regional navigator, Someplace Safe

Southwest Minnesota
Heartland II, Facilitated by Allan Bakke, southwest regional navigator, Southwest Crisis Center

Northwest Minnesota
Heartland III, Facilitated by Michael Pittman, former northwest regional navigator; and Gabrielle Congrave, SEY Coordinator, Support Within Reach

Southeast Minnesota
Heartland IV, Facilitated by Andrea White, Safe Harbor advocate, Victim Services in Dodge, Fillmore and Olmsted Counties

5:30 p.m. — 7:30 p.m. | Dinner

Dinner is provided in the Marina Room


This conference is produced under #2016-MU-MU-K153, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and recommendations expressed in this conference are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the U.S. Department of Justice. 
back to top