Tomorrow, Shared Hope International, which investigates and documents incidents of sex trafficking across the country, will release the first in a series of reports that detail how 10 American cities respond to victims of the sex trade. Tomorrow’s report focuses on Las Vegas, and an assessment of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance, is currently underway.
But according to initial findings, SHI has identified an alarming trend, says a media release out today. “American children are victims of the sex trade, and they are being trafficked within the United States,” says the release. Karrie Delaney, SHI communications director, tells Unfair Park that in Las Vegas, the organization found that child sex slaves were being sent to the area from 40 different states.
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“It’s happening everywhere,” she says. “Even in place like Vegas, where there’s a culture of tolerance and sort of an anything-goes attitude, they are trafficking in girls from around the country to meet the demand.”
SHI’s Dallas assessment is looking at how the area responds to sex-trafficking victims. The question, Delaney says, is whether they treat them as criminals or victims.
“When they are identified, are they arrested and put in a juvenile detention center, or are they recognized as victims and given the services they need?” she says. “One thing we have found so far is that there are a severe lack of protective shelters from sex-trafficking victims in the United States.” The release of the Dallas-Fort Worth report is at least several months away. --Jesse Hyde