‘Finding Family: The Long Road Home’ explores life of children in foster care in LA County
By Veronica Miracle
December 10, 2021
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… DCFS will sometimes refer those cases to organizations like Saving Innocence, a group that focuses on rescuing children from sex traffickers.
“The youngest kiddo we’ve ever worked with was a tender 7 years old. It’s hard to even say that,” said Saving Innocence Director Alan Smythe, who is also the co-author of “Men! Fight for Me: The Role of Authentic Masculinity in Ending Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking.”
“It’s the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world, the buying and selling of other people,” Smythe explained. “It’s called the modern day slavery.”
There are many different ways children end up being sex trafficked, but of the kids that work with Saving Innocence, 80% of them are in foster care.
Oree Freeman is a child sex-trafficking survivor. She entered the foster care system when she was just 2 days old.
Now as a 26-year-old, she’s a mother, a college student and victims’ advocate.
“I went out to a local street right here in Los Angeles. The other night, I counted 78 girls. Twenty [were] probably under the age out of 78,” said Freeman. “It doesn’t sound like a lot, but those are girls that are being forced to work on the streets. [That doesn’t include] the girls working the internet. The youngest that I came in contact with was 14.”
The area she’s talking about is minutes from the University of Southern California and downtown L.A. The sex trafficking happens out in the open, but it can happen anywhere. …