Harriet Boorhem: Youth Today’s Diarist

Print More

As all of you know, the Super Bowl is coming to Dallas.  Well here’s a side to it that you never hear about….at least publicly.  My V.P. of Programs, Alex, was contacted this week by the Child Exploitation Unit of the Dallas Police Department for Promise House to be a shelter for under-age prostitutes that get picked up during the Super Bowl.

I’ve been haunted thinking about this discussion and the numbers of prostitutes that will be brought in for the Super Bowl.  Is this Las Vegas or something?  Geez, I simply cannot get my head around this kind of blatant, slimy, behavior engaged in by so many people.  The even more horrific thought is the number of under-age prostitutes, both girls and boys, who will brought in to be used and abused. 

Promise House is no stranger to helping prostitutes, both under-age and young adults. Thankfully not in the numbers that are projected to be dealt with during the Super Bowl, but still, the issues are the same.  So many get caught up in it simply trying to survive, trying to get something to eat, have someplace to stay. Teens (both boys and girls) 18 and under on the street will be approached by a “pimp” within 48 hours of “arriving” on the street.  Lost, hungry, and confused, they get lured in and the downward spiral begins. They are objectified, bought, sold, used and abused in horrific ways. 

Thankfully, the Dallas Police Department is beginning to understand the fact that under-age prostitutes are victims, not criminals. Letot Center, the shelter run by the Juvenile Justice Department here in town, is doing some great work with these kids. Instead of getting arrested, these kids are now brought to Letot for special programming and help. This is what we will be doing during the Super Bowl. We have no idea how many will come to Promise House, but I’ll let you know how it goes.

These kids are someone’s children. They had hopes and dreams.  They didn’t say when they were little, “Gee, I think I want to be on the street and become a prostitute when I grow up.”  They certainly didn’t say, “I’m looking forward to being bought and sold and used and abused when I grow up.”  They’ve had their childhoods and youth snatched from them in the most traumatic way.  Hopefully, while they are with us, we can give them back a little of that youth and some of their hopes and dreams.  At the very least, we can offer them a warm bed, good food, clean clothes, a shower, and a listening ear…..all with no strings attached.

Wish us luck.