Help vulnerable girls and women leave prostitution
In a compassionate community, it makes sense to support vulnerable girls and women trying to get out of prostitution. This effort is a true public-private partnership. Readers can help by contributing to the City of Seattle Prostituted Children Rescue Fund.
IT may sound odd that contributing to a program providing safe haven for teen prostitutes is a way to help some of our neediest and most vulnerable young people.
But that is precisely what a pilot project championed by Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess aims to accomplish.
A program offering emergency shelter beds and key social services can help girls and young women abandon earlier poor choices, escape dangerous pimps and start to heal from sexual exploitation.
Burgess jumped on the idea of combining public and private funding for a program set to begin this spring after King County budget writers cut money for the program. So far, about $500,000 in public and private revenue is in hand for 2010, leaving a fundraising gap of $200,000. The gap is larger still for 2011.
Donations are tax deductible and can be made to the City of Seattle Prostituted Children Rescue Fund, c/o Human Services Department, P.O. Box 34215, Seattle, WA. 98124-4215.
By best estimates in King County there are 300 to 500 juvenile prostitutes, mostly girls. The point is not to dwell on how or why they got into prostitution but to focus energy and resources on helping them leave a degrading lifestyle.
The pilot program could be a big part of the answer. With sufficient private support, Seattle's program would be one of only four in the country to assist young women in prostitution seeking a better life.
In a compassionate community, the idea of providing shelter and care for vulnerable girls and young women should be one of our values. This reasonable and useful program deserves vigorous private support.
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.