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Shared Hope International Demands Restorative Shelters and Services for Child Victims of Sex Trafficking in the Wake of Operation Cross Country IV

Contact: Amy English, Shared Hope International, 703-351-8062

ARLINGTON, VA, Oct. 27 /Standard Newswire/ -- Operation Cross Country IV executed across the nation by the Innocence Lost Initiative this past weekend resulted in the rescue of 52 victims of child sexual slavery, adding to the nearly 900 child victims rescued in prior operations. Shared Hope International is asking, "What will happen to these children?"

In the absence of restorative shelters to serve this population of victims, these children will not receive the full care they are entitled to under the law. The federal Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 authorized funds for shelter and services to domestic juvenile victims of sex trafficking; however, these funds have yet to be appropriated.

Shared Hope International released The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking in a briefing before Congress in July 2009. This research announced that at least 100,000 American children are exploited in the commercial sex industry each year. They are often misidentified and arrested as criminals. When rescued as victims, prostituted American children are often placed in juvenile detention centers for lack of an alternative restorative placement.

On October 21 2009, Linda Smith (U.S. Congress 1994-98), Shared Hope International President and Founder, testified before Congress urging the U.S. Government to prioritize this national crisis.

"Appropriate protective shelter and services are critical for the protection and restoration of American child sex trafficking victims but they do not exist," said Linda Smith. "As a leader in the fight to end sex trafficking abroad, the United States needs to set the standard of providing services for these children who are caught in sexual slavery here in the U.S."

The rescue of 52 children is laudable, but thousands of American children still await rescue from sexual slavery. Shared Hope International has collaborated with human trafficking task forces across the nation, calling to establish restorative shelters for domestic minor sex trafficking victims. Shelters exist for foreign victims of trafficking in the United States- it is time to make specialized shelters and services available to serve our American victims.

About Shared Hope International
For more than a decade, Shared Hope International has worked around the world partnering with local groups to prevent trafficking and to rescue and restore victims of sexual slavery. Visit
www.sharedhope.org.