New grant to help Maine victims of sex trafficking

wgmePORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Portland’s Preble Street Resources Center is getting a $400,000 grant to help young women escape from sex trafficking.

The social services agency will begin receiving the first $200,000 installment of the two-year grant from the Department of Justice this fall. Part of it will be used to develop a statewide network of housing and shelter options for victims.

The Portland Press Herald says efforts in Maine to identify the problem began in 2011 with the formation of the Greater Portland Coalition Against Trafficking and Exploitation.

Mark Swann from Preble Street says a survey of 80 homeless women and girls last year found that 15 percent of them had been recruited to have sex with a stranger and a quarter of them had been offered drugs in exchange for sex.