Limited Options For Former Child Prostitutes

Joe Markman reports for the LA Times on the problems associated with a lack of available resources for children who have been rescued from prostitution. The broken system means the kids often end up in unstable environments without the psychological support they need.

Lois Lee, founder of a 24-bed Los Angeles shelter called Children of the Night, sees the problems firsthand.

“When America’s child prostitutes are identified by the FBI or police, they are incarcerated for whatever reason possible, whether it be an unrelated crime or ‘material witness hold,’ ” she said.

“Then they are dumped back in the dysfunctional home, ill-equipped group home or foster care, and [often] disappear back into the underground of prostitution with no voice.”

Experts recommend intensive residential treatment programs for children who have been victims of sex trafficking, Markman explains, but only three such programs exist in the country. Together they have a total of 44 beds. There are an estimated 100,000 and 300,000 victims of child prostitution in the U.S.