BCFS and Unbound Now
By: Debbie Solcher
Louisiana has made great strides in the fight against human trafficking. Act 662 passed by the state legislature in 2022 has significantly grown support for survivors of child sex trafficking.
Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to manipulate and abuse victims– most often through the vehicle of relationships by forcing victims to become dependent solely on them. The good news is that relationships with healthy individuals can be a source of healing. By understanding this, specialized advocates provide a trust-based relationship through ongoing crisis response and emotional support, connecting survivors to vital community resources on their journey to healing and restoration.
Minors who are survivors of sex trafficking in Louisiana now have access to relational advocacy services throughout our state. The Department of Child and Family Services has contracted with two advocacy agencies, BCFS and Unbound Now, to provide long-term case management and crisis response for commercially sexually exploited youth, a program also known as CSEY advocacy services.
BCFS and Unbound Now employ, train, and support highly-trained advocates who partner with local stakeholders through 24-hour 365-day crisis response as well as response to non-crisis referrals. Advocacy teams participate in care coordination as well as multi-disciplinary team meetings. BCFS provides state-wide advocacy response and support to Unbound Now as the primary advocacy response in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans regions.
The BCFS Common Thread crisis line for referrals is 1-888-884-7323. The Unbound Now crisis line for referrals in Baton Rouge is 225-475-9635. The Unbound Now crisis line for referrals in New Orleans is 504-285-9865.
Debbie Solcher, State Director for BCFS HHS, will lead the Common Thread Program providing long term relational advocacy to commercially sexually exploited youth in the State of Louisiana. Debbie worked as a Regional Advisor with Office of the Texas Governor’s Child Sex Trafficking Team supporting the Texas Model of Care Coordination and was an integral part of building services and collaborations in Central Texas communities. Most recently with the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas, she continued to provide state-wide technical assistance to local CACs to support MDTs in the building of protocols around commercially sexually exploited youth. Debbie has extensive experience in the educational system and has worked to further strategy for exploited youth at the state and local levels.