Thursday, September 06, 2012
Dozens of local teenage girls have been looking for a life off the streets.
The girls are victims of human trafficking, sucked into a life of prostitution. Police said they have worked 44 human trafficking cases involving kids over the past year.
Jennifer White, ICT SOS founder, said child sex crimes are prevalent in Wichita.
“We sit right at the intersection of two major sex trafficking highways in the country,” White said.
White said she decided to take action to help troubled teens after hearing a story about a 13-year-old Wichita girl who had been sold for sex. She created ICT SOS to help get 14, 15 and 16-year-old girls off the streets. The organization began less than two years ago.
“We can help a girl have a future, and actually change her life,” White said.
But many teenagers are finding limited housing.
“The alternative is to lock them up like criminals,” said Marc Bennett, Sedgwick County deputy district attorney. “That’s horrible too. So to have a place, it would certainly give us an option and opportunity for these girls.”
The organization plans to hold its first big fundraiser this weekend to help teenage girls find emergency housing. The Race for Freedom is a 5K run/walk to help raise awareness about human trafficking. The event takes place at Carpenter Place, 1501 N. Meridian Ave., Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
More than 800 people have signed up to participate in the event. Click here for more information about the fundraiser, or how to help.