"No Wrong Door" Safety for Children of Sex Trafficking

By KBJR News 1

August 7, 2014 Updated Aug 7, 2014 at 10:24 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Kids who fall victim to sex traffickers often believe there is no way out. Or they feel like they'll be accused of committing a sex crime.

Now a new Minnesota law takes the blame away from the victims of the sex trade and gives them the support they desperately need to break away.

For 19–year–old Bobbi Larson her past is still a big part of her present.

"I get flashbacks and that's really hard."

Last February, Bobbi shared her powerful story with us.

"I had to sit in this dirty back room, just smoking and having sex."

At 14 she found herself a victim of sex trafficking.

"It frustrates me when no one knows, who I can talk to and you know, it's hard."

Now teens who've been sexually exploited are being seen as victims, not criminals.

Under the Minnesota Safe Harbor Law anyone 18 or younger, can get support through the "No Wrong Door Program."

"If we continue to look at these youth as criminals then we are saying that it's okay, in most cases, for a man to buy a child for sex," said PAVSA regional navigator, Nigel Perrot.

Nigel Perrot, a navigator for the "Program to Aid Victims of Sexual Assault" in Duluth, provides state funded services like food, shelter and clothing to boys and girls scarred by sex trafficking.

The program gets these children the help they need.

"I think the big thing about this is, it's not me telling the youth what they need to do, it's the youth telling me what they need," said Perrot.

With this new program, Perrot is hopeful teens will come out from underneath the shadows of sex trafficking.

"I've never met a youth that says I'm in it because I want to be, I'm in it because I'm forced into it," said Perrot.

"I feel like I am doing the best that I can," said Larson.

Bobbi Larson is continuing her recovery at a halfway house in Rochester.

The Minnesota Department of Health has provided grant funding to eight Safe Harbor regional programs across Minnesota.

For more information on the "No Wrong Door" program click here.

Jeremy Brickley
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