Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Is This Your Child??

For those of us who have daughters, this is a story that would be our worst nightmare. Two young women have come into the Promise House shelter in the last month, both of whom had been put out on the street by their "boyfriends" and told not to come back until they had "made some money". One of the young women was in such bad shape physically and mentally that my street outreach manager had to take her to the Parkland ER .

Luckily, they are both back home with parents, thanks to the hard work of our street outreach people and the Greyhound Bus "Home Free" Program, which provides free bus tickets to runaways to go home.

Others, however, are not so lucky. Sex trafficking is mostly thought of as an international phenomenum, but it is alive and well right here in the USA. If you ever see a "missing teen" poster, there is a chance he or she has been enticed, lured, coerced, or forced into prostitution--girls AND boys.

The media has done plenty of reporting on international sex trafficking. However, you will hardly read or hear anything about the problem that is right here in front of our faces. WHY IS THAT?? It's like the social worker, therapist, etc., who spends so much time fixing other people's problems that their own children are totally neglected.

We need to focus HERE, in our own community, state, country--on the teens that are missing, exploited, abused, even murdered every day. The funding that Promise House has received since 1997 for our street outreach program has not increased one dollar in 12 years. Meanwhile, millions of dollars have been invested in federal abstinence-only and mentoring programs that have little to no empirical data to prove their efficacy.

As hard as it is to believe, one of those missing girls or boys could be your child. And if it was your child, you would want all the help you could get to find him or her safe. That is all we are asking--all the help we can get.

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