Initiative Coordinator, Orleans Parish Juvenile Court
Samantha (Sam) Sahl, LMSW is a licensed social worker providing case management and crisis counseling for juvenile victims of sex trafficking, juveniles at high risk for sex trafficking, child victims of other crime and abuse, and non-offending family members at the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court (OPJC) as the Program Coordinator of RISE (Respect, Invest in, Support & Empower). Through RISE, Sam developed and implemented protocols and practices within the juvenile court to screen youth for both sex and labor trafficking and to ensure proper reporting and case coordination for child victims of crime. Prior to working at OPJC, Sam worked at the New Orleans Children’s Advocacy Center (NOCAC) as the Human Trafficking social worker where she created New Orleans’ first CSEC-specific multidisciplinary team to coordinate services for high-risk and trafficked youth. During this time, she assisted in the revision of the New Orleans Police Department Child Abuse policy to include guidelines for identifying and responding to CSEC, and trained new recruits and police officers in CSEC response.
Prior to her work in New Orleans, Sam lived and worked abroad on child development and youth empowerment projects in Ghana, skills building and empowerment with Burmese refugee women in Thailand, and child protection training and technical assistance in Jordan with the Syrian refugee population. Sam was awarded the Leanne Joy Knot Award for determination, patience, understanding, caring, adaptability, and hard work from the Tulane School of Social Work, and was admitted into the Phi Alpha National Social Work Honor Society. She is currently a Doctor of Social Work candidate with the University of Southern California, focusing her doctoral research on operationalizing the inclusion of youth voice in service provision decisions through the use of shared decision-making tools and practices. Sam is also a trained forensic interviewer in two nationally recognized protocols (RADAR and APSAC) and conducts forensic interviews at the NOCAC.