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Little Rock to get first shelter for Human Trafficking Victims

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(KATV) Little Rock - Arkansas doesn't have a shelter for victims of human trafficking, but Little Rock is about to get one all thanks to an anonymous donor.

In the U.S., there are fewer than a dozen shelters for trafficking victims. PATH (Partners Against Trafficking Humans) celebrates one year this month and will soon be able to house rescue victims at 1300 North Shackleford near the Kmart on Rodney Parham.

Volunteers showed up before sunrise to tear out carpet, old ceiling tile and improve the landscape so funds from donors can make the facility more inviting for victims of human trafficking.

Louise Allison is the executive director. She says, "There's no one profile of a trafficking victim. They're boys, girls, adults and children of a ages. Most are between the ages of 14 and 21."

Allison, was sexually assaulted as a teenager, ran away from home and ended up in the human trafficking system, sexually exploited. Her goal is for this facility to offer rehabilitation services along with housing for women and their children. It will be specialized long term services currently not found in the state.

Allison adds, "Fifty-percent of those who are arrested for prostitution are either actively being trafficked or in prostitution as a direct result of being trafficked at an earlier age. Sadly some families sell their kids."

This former church building has been vacant for years; it is worth an estimated $1.3 million dollars. More hands and funds are needed, but companies and volunteers have pledged to provide labor, supplies and equipment to start on the first phase, giving life to a building and victims of rape. "Within the next three to four months we're hoping to start taking in victims," Allison says.

Bailee Winerrowd says, "I'm looking forward to meeting the first few girls we're able to offer housing to."

Volunteers will be back Saturday, June 9th from 9 am. to 5 pm.

Louise Allison says, the U.S. is the number one purchaser of sexual services. According to the FBU, more than 300,000 children have been sold by sex traffickers in the U.S. and each year about 13,000 new victims are sold into the underground system.

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