A Disturbing, But Hopeful, Report on Dallas and Its "Prostituted Youth"

As expected, Shared Hope International released today its 10th and final report dealing children being trafficked as sex slaves -- and, fittingly, the report about Dallas was released in Dallas, where the organization's wrapping up its conference. It's a 149-page document, and for the most part it's got good things to say about how local law enforcement and prosecutors deal with this "odious crime": Since 1999, says the report, "Dallas has been a leader in professional response to prostituted youth."

But, of course, the report mentions two recent and infamous incidents involving minors involved in the sex trade: the 12-year-old and 17-year-old girls found working at Diamonds Cabaret earlier this year, and, around the same time, a 13-year-old girl who'd been forced into prostitution by another girl her age at Club Metropolis.

And while the report has plenty of praise for police and prosecutors and those who try to prevent victimization, there are myriad problems left to solve -- such as, while the Dallas County Juvenile Justice Department is "the most well-funded juvenile justice department in the state and has abundant resources in-house and through community contracts," the report notes, there are no counselors available to treat victims of trafficking, most of whom were sexually abused well before they wound up on the streets. The report ends with 16 suggestions, from prevention programs to prosecution. --Robert Wilonsky

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