Girls in Justice


Recorded February 23, 2021


Susan Breall

Nicholas Kristof

Antonia Lavine

John Kamm

If you would like to ask a question of any of the panelists, go to their bio page and click on Start a Conversation

Trafficking is one of the most insidious and common threats faced by at-risk girls. It is an issue that spans the globe and has recently attracted media attention, particularly the trafficking of young girls in Asia and the United States. 

Coordinator of the San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking Antonia Lavine speaks about the trafficking of girls in Europe with an emphasis on Central and Eastern Europe and the legal frameworks in these regions. She particularly notes that through the European Union, legislation around sex trafficking had been standardized across Europe. Now, pursuing and prosecuting traffickers is easier than it is in the United States. Antonia stresses the need to address the fact that demand supplies the fuel for this global market. In order to effectively address the issue, we have to look at the root causes of the market and the economic reasons girls get sucked in.

Judge Susan Breall speaks about trafficking in the San Francisco Bay Area and her role as a Judge in the Superior Court of San Francisco working with girls who have been trafficked or are sex workers and trying to help them find way out.  She says her work has been especially hard during COVID. Her normal approach to connecting with the girls changed to accommodate social distancing while the pimps and other facilitators of sexual exploitation have moved the girls to online platforms, changing how law enforcement does their work.  

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof speaks about his experience with the sex trafficking of girls in Asia and how this issue has become a focal point of his career, sharing stories of young girls having their virginity sold in what was virtually a slave market on the streets of Cambodia. He links economic issues for families around the world as the biggest causal factor for why girls end up on the streets, whether it is poverty or abuse, and makes the argument that social services have a huge role to play in keeping girls off the streets. 

“If we could reduce child poverty in half, that would make a real dent in some of these underlying causes, underlying pipelines. I hope that we, as a country will be able to move forward on that as just about every other advanced country has managed to do.”

– Nicholas Kristof

“We have to realize that many boys in and girls and women and men in our community use this as a business because they have no other opportunities and it’s like a communal disease. It just a disease. It’s like a pandemic.”
– Antonia Lavine

“There needs to be a multi‑disciplinary approach and a coordinated community response that’s spoken of in the Violence Against Women Act, but the community needs to be a different model of community.”
– Susan Breall


Girl’s Court Recommendations: Gender Specific Solutions
Annotated Bibliography: Girls in Conflict with the Law