ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - An emergency shelter for victims of sex trafficking is one step closer to opening.
Straight Street now has the title-deed. Human trafficking is an issue WSLS 10 has been covering for years.
The Street Ransom program started three years ago at the request of law enforcement who saw a need for protective services for girls rescued from the sex trade.
Under terms of an agreement reached seven months ago Roanoke signed off on the title after Straight Street reported that $300,000 has been raised toward the estimated $400,000 cost of remodeling.
"We started Street Ransom to educate teens and hopefully prevent them from being lured into sex trafficking, but it has always been our goal to have a safe haven for those who have been rescued," Farmer said. "With this facility we'll be able to house as many as eight girls for up to 90 days while they receive the care they need and the hope of a better life."
Straight Street is still raising money to cover the remaining construction cost and operating budget.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act defines sex trafficking as "the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person forced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years."
Straight Street was founded in 1994 to help meet the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of teenagers, assisting children of inmates, homeless students, teenage mothers and others needing positive mentoring and support. Its programs are supported solely by the gifts of the local community.
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