Let’s Talk About Sex

Now that I got your attention, it’s time to turn to a very serious subject. Sex trafficking.

As I blog about this important and timely topic, I do think it makes for a very interesting case study on the how one organization, whom you may not assume, leveraged the power of PR and social impact at the national level.

Let’s talk about the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ). On the outside, it’s the oldest and largest judicial membership organization, celebrating its 80th year. On the inside, it’s an organization filled with compassionate staff members and judges dedicated to the helping of children and families who seek justice.

The PR and social impact part started with some discovery. What we found out was, juvenile and family court judges across the nation were encountering complex cases involving victims of domestic child sex trafficking, sometimes under the guise of other juvenile law offenses. It was not uncommon for judges to talk about this dilemma in their roundtable discussions and judicial trainings.

In 2016, the NCJFCJ released a resolution, calling for a coordinated response to increase the effectiveness of all justice and child-serving systems, in identifying child victims of domestic sex trafficking and exploitation at the earliest stage possible. The resolution also called for providing necessary services for victims to heal from trauma and related harm.

Not only did the NCJFCJ believe in the resolution, but they put it into action. Twice a year, the NCJFCJ holds a judicial institute to provide continuing education for judges, court personnel, justice professionals and others on this issue.

KPS3 saw an opportunity to position the NCJFCJ staff members and judges as experts in the sex trafficking conversation. It was an opportunity to provide the judges’ unique perspective on the issue as it relates to victim trauma, disproportionality in the buyer-victim profile and the changing of the mindset that there is no such thing as a child prostitute.


The vital work of the NCJFCJ began in 1937 when a group of judges came together looking to improve the effectiveness of the nation’s juvenile courts. One of the largest and oldest judicial membership organizations in the nation, the NCJFCJ serves an estimated 30,000 professionals in the juvenile and family justice system including judges, referees, commissioners, court masters and administrators, social and mental health workers, police and probation officers.

Domestic child sex trafficking is a topic that has received increased attention in the news over the last few years due to the rising usage of Internet sites such as Backpage. The NCJFCJ had an opportunity to speak out on the issue, and be positioned as experts in the areas of judicial law and education. As laws and systems change to identify and recognize sex trafficking as child abuse and victimization, processes to adequately respond to the specialized and complex needs of this population were also critical to the organization to ensure healthy courts in healthy communities.

PR Objectives:

  • Position the NCJFCJ as experts in domestic child sex trafficking by garnering national and local media coverage.
  • Leverage public relations efforts and proactive pitches to raise the severity of the issue and change perceptions that this is a national, not just international issue.

PR Execution:

We pitched the media, monitored the news and timely stories, leveraged NCJFCJ leaders as subject matter experts and tracked media coverage.

PR Highlights:

The New York Times
March 11, 2017
Backpage’s Sex Ads Are Gone. Child Trafficking? Hardly.
Subscribers/value – The Sunday print version reaches 1.1 million subscribers and has a publicity value of $120K. The online version has a $34K publicity value.
17,228 Twitter and Facebook impressions
421 Twitter and Facebook clicks

Thompson Reuters Foundation
February 13, 2017
Child sex trafficking victims need services, not punishment, say advocates

January 11, 2017
Sex Trafficking Awareness Day 2017

The Atlantic
February 8, 2016
‘Kids Are Renewable Resources’

July 18, 2015
Selling Atlanta’s children: What has and hasn’t changed

August 30, 2015
Law to shelter child sex trafficking victims could strain resources

Indian Country Today Network
May 24, 2015
Trafficking in Native Communities

The Boston Globe
December 1, 2014
Punishing sex-trafficking accomplices presents quandary


The NCJFCJ received notable media coverage on the issue. The highlight has been The New York Times story, one that was developed over a 3-month period with many safety and confidentiality considerations involved. We assisted the reporter in developing this complex storyline with our subject matter experts, provided him access to a sex trafficking survivor and her experiences, and provided additional research/data. The story ran in the Sunday edition of The New York Times, with Victoria Sweet, NCJFCJ attorney, quoted (the reporter interviewed others from the NCJFCJ as well, and like many big stories, did not make the final edition). The Sunday print version reaches 1.1 million subscribers and has a publicity value of $120K. The online version has a $34K publicity value (source: Cision). The New York Times also had 17,228 Twitter and Facebook impressions. All stories that were trackable by Cision received a neutral sentiment. Overall, we far exceeded our PR value goals with a 22:1 ROI.

Our Thoughts

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