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Monday, March 29, 2010

New Safehouses for Trafficking Survivors Open in California

A significant shortage of safe shelter options for human trafficking survivors is a little closer to being alleviated this week, with two shelters opening in California. These shelters will provide women who have been exploited in the commercial sex industry and wish to leave with a safe place to recover and rebuild their lives. But more housing options for human trafficking survivors are still needed around the country.

Anti-trafficking advocates in California say providing housing options for survivors in the state is incredibly important, since California is a hub for people being brought into the country from Mexico and Central America, as well as Americans trafficked internally for commercial sex. The houses will serve adult women, primarily those who have been in forced prostitution, from the U.S. and other countries. Both homes have been funded through a combination of local organizations and individual donations. One of the homes is staffed by Catholic nuns.

Adequate shelter for human trafficking victims has long been a significant deficiency in the fight against human trafficking. Victims need a safe place where pimps and traffickers can't find them with access to specialized counseling to help them overcome the significant trauma of slavery. They may need medical care, job skills, language assistance, immigration paperwork, child care, transportation, and a number of other services in order to get back on their feet. Existing women's shelters, such as domestic violence shelters, and homeless shelters, are often ill-equipped to handle the specific needs of this population.

While these two shelters in California are a great start, more are needed across the U.S. If someone manages to escape slavery in Atlanta, the last thing they want is to be shipped off to California to live, especially if they have ties and support systems in Atlanta. Similarly, law enforcement may need to keep survivors close as part of ongoing investigations. That means having appropriate support services on both coasts and key places in between.

Source: End Human Trafficking

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