Salvation Army to Open DC-Area Shelter for Human Trafficking Victims

Human trafficking victims in the D.C. area will soon have another place to turn.

The Salvation Army National Capital Area Command is set to open on Wednesday an emergency shelter for victims.

The shelter with space to house eight women or men fleeing any type of trafficking is being set up to be comfortable and homey. The staff will call the residents guests and offer them comprehensive services, including medical care, trauma therapy and employment training.

Prince George's County Family Justice Center Director Denise McCain talks about how human trafficking isn't a third-world problem. "It's going on right here in our communities," she said. But you can help by educating yourself on how to identify signs of trafficking.

To protect the residents, The Salvation Army will not disclose the shelter's location. Shelter staffers will meet people in need of help at a designated public place and take them to safety.

Salvation Army Maj. Leisa Hall said she and her colleagues found that while the D.C. area has programs that help trafficking victims, there was no place providing emergency, short-term assistance. They hope the new shelter will fill that gap.

Shamere McKenzie is telling her story of how she escaped from the man who trafficked her and has become the CEO of a foundation that helps victims of human trafficking. She says she is determined to help other people. Julie Carey reports.

The Salvation Army is seeking the public's help through donations. They particularly need gift cards, toiletries and household items. If you can help, go to the organization's website, here.

If you need help, go here. Also, you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.

<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">WHUR's Troy Johnson</a> tells Chris Lawrence about the different challenges that come from the high rate of children of color who go missing as well as things you can do to keep your children safe.
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