As the D.C. city council examines legislation to crack down on human trafficking in the city, a former child victim helps other women escape their bondage.
A small trail of women enters the Sasha Bruce Youth Center in the Eastern Market neighborhood of Southeast Washington. They crowd into in a basement room where the odor of roach spray is masked by freshly brewed coffee.
They represent a coalition of women's groups. They're here for a 'pow wow' to discuss legislation to combat human trafficking in DC. "I had no idea that this kind of world existed until I was forced into it," said Tina Frundt, who was forced into sex trafficking at thirteen but escaped after ten years. Frundt founded Courtney's House, a shelter for children escaping sex traffickers.
"It's out in the open and it's not hidden. It's on 14th and K. It's on 18th and Rhode Island," said Frundt. "And all the pimps stand out there watching all the girls and they can be as young as 12, 13."
The coalition says D.C. is a "hub" for human trafficking. One group helped more than 280 victims here over the past six years by doing doing outreach, offering shelter and legal aid. Frundt's group hands out cosmetic compacts with their emergency hot line printed in code.
The bill under consideration by the D.C. city council would among other things stiffen penalties for traffickers and adds protections for victims.
Mana Rabiee reports...
A slate of new legislation has received an endorsement by the Virginia State Crime Commission that they say would give law enforcement more tools to investigate and prosecute child abuse.