Recently, an 18-year-old woman showed up at the Arlington Life Shelter seeking a place to sleep. She wasn’t alone, and she didn’t appear to be there by choice. A man brought her. Shelter workers believe he was a pimp.
Such encounters are rare, but shelter officials say they have been occurring more frequently. The Arlington Life Shelter, which serves about 80 homeless people a night, is working to raise awareness about human trafficking in the city and what it can do as a nonprofit to recognize and help victims of sexual slavery as well as protect their other clients from the lifestyle.
The shelter wants to make sure clients aren’t lured into the sex trade, Assistant Executive Director Janel Holt said. Shelter officials want to provide human-trafficking victims a safe place to stay and the resources they need to get off the street. The agency has encouraged its volunteers to be vigilant for clients who may be in that situation.
“These people wouldn’t be selling themselves if there weren’t people who were buying. Movies like Pretty Woman make it seem kind of glamorous and romantic to be in that situation,” Holt said. “It’s not. When people really open their eyes to it, it’s something that you can’t unsee.”
Learn more at Susan Schrock’s Star-Telegram article: Shelter officials say sex trade is increasing.