SAN ANTONIO - A new grant from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is helping to fund the opening of a new emergency shelter for child sex trafficking survivors in San Antonio.
- New emergency shelter for sex trafficking survivors to open in San Antonio
- Child trafficking survivors to receive individualized attention
- Report indicates there are roughly 79,000 victims of sex trafficking in Texas
Bexar County is one of four counties receiving grant money from the governor's office. Roy Maas Youth Alternatives is one local recipient of this funding.
"So this is really straight from the governor's mandate," said Chief Program Officer Dr. Julie Strenzch. "Traditional programs were not really taking these kiddos in and helping them so he built specialized programs so that we can focus on their needs."
La Puerta will give youth survivors of sex trafficking a place to stay for 90 days.
"What our goal is (is) to primarily serve our sex trafficked population by giving them an extended time to kind of figure out the next steps as they're coming out of the life," Strenzch said.
La Puerta will have a 1:4 ratio of staff to kids, giving survivors the opportunity for more specialized attention.
"Our job is just to bring them in, give them food, a place to rest their head and take a shower and remember that they're still a kid. And then to start helping them with what are the next steps. Not judging the steps that they took to get here, really focusing on the steps to healing and moving forward," Strenzch said.
La Puerta has 16 beds, and Dr. Strenzch says she's expecting them to be full most of the time. She says just in the last few months, Roy Maas has served more than 100 survivors. La Puerta will be open this week.
According to a UT Austin report, there are 79,000 youth victims of sex trafficking in Texas. The study indicates child sex trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the world. The study reports there's issues of shelter placement for kids that may also be foster kids or in the juvenile criminal justice system.
Thursday, there will be an opening ceremony at La Puerta to give tours of the facility and to celebrate the opportunity to help even more youth in this area.