Minnesota lawmakers begin the second step in providing more safe houses for teenagers that are victims of sex trafficking at the capitol Sunday, news sources reported.
The first step in this process occurred in 2011 when Minnesota passed a Safe Harbor law, Minnesota Public Radio reported. This law states that all children under the age of 16 are considered victims when they involved in prostitution and other sexual exploitation, not delinquents, Pioneer Press reported.
One of the safe houses mentioned was Heartland Girls' Ranch in Benson, Minnesota. Founded 20 years ago a number of girls were sent to Heartland Girls' Ranch because of abuse, neglect, and now most recently sexual exploitation, Minnesota Public Radio reported.
Instead of being sent to juvenile detention centers counties pay $169 a day for each of these girls at the Heartland Girls' Ranch, Pioneer Press reported. Though the Safe Harbor law does become active until August of this year, there is no proposal for the $13.5 million that is needed to facilitate more establishments like Heartland Girls' Ranch in Gov. Mark Dayton's budget, Minnesota Public Radio reported.