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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Behind the Scenes Look at Portland's New Teen Sex Trafficking Shelter

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 3:18 PM

In the paper's cover story this week, reporter Alex Zielinksi goes behind the scenes at the long-awaited youth sex trafficking shelter that has finally opened in Portland.

One piece of the story is that, despite the United States clearly having problems with underage sex trafficking, dedicated youth shelters are very rare. Portland's new shelter is pretty much flying blind, with only one or two model shelters to look to.

And what's interesting about Portland's approach is that, unlike many transition homes that are on 24-hour lockdown, the teens who wind up at the Portland shelter after being picked up as sex trafficking victims will be free to leave whenever they want.

"This isn't an institutional, lockdown facility. I won't be tackling anyone who wants to leave," says shelter director Kevin Donegan. "All I ask for is a conversation before they leave to make sure they're safe."

That's an innovative strategy: trusting teens. How it will actually work out, though, is uncertain. Read the whole piece here.

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