Sex Trafficking of Children is Local, Non-Profits Say

Sex trafficking of children is often thought of as a problem abroad, but several nonprofits say it's happening right here.

When Andrea Powell and volunteers with nonprofit FAIR fund started going into DC schools last year to educate teens about sexual violence and exploitation, they asked the students if they knew anyone under 18 who was involved in sexual commerce.  Seventy percent of the kids raised their hands.

When they dug further, they found several instances of kids in classes who were being exploited. They found youth exchanging sex for a place to stay, a ride to school, even cell phone minutes. Often, it's girls - and sometimes boys - who've run away, are homeless or don't have a stable family.

One strategy that Powell's group is working on is training adults in regular contact with vulnerable kids - anyone from teachers to 711 employees - to identify bad situations before they get worse. They're also raising money for a group home called Columbia House for victims of child sex trafficking in the district.

Sabri Ben-Achour reports...

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