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New San Diego County Shelter Aids Young Victims Of Sex Trafficking

Aired 7/1/13 on KPBS News.

New four-bed shelter offers girls therapy, academics and "life skills."

When girls as young as 12 are rescued in San Diego from being sold for sex seven days a week, they’re often sent to juvenile hall because there’s nowhere else for them to go.

San Diego is the eighth-most popular city in the country for commercial sexual exploitation of children, according to the FBI. Many who are forced into the local sex trade have suffered years of sexual, emotional and physical abuse from family and others, but so far, treatment and rehabilitation have been sorely lacking.

Generate Hope Executive Director Susan Munsey said the new shelter will serve girls, ages 12 to 17. The girls will get caught up on school work, learn communication skills, undergo anger management and receive therapy.

“What we see is the post-traumatic stress disorder — the measured levels are at the same level as returning Vietnam vets," Munsey said. "Not just any vets but the Vietnam vets because they came back in shame, as do these girls.”

The new shelter has just four beds but Munsey said that’s an achievement because there’s little money in the system for helping sex-trafficking victims enter into mainstream life.

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