BOISE — Sadly, child sex-trafficking is a reality in the Treasure Valley and experts say rehabilitating victims can be extremely difficult.
Jennifer Zielenski, Idaho's Anti-Trafficking Coalition Director, says juvenile victims of sex-trafficking are local and out of state and often homeless making them extremely vulnerable once rescued.
"We're having to house them in inappropriate places that aren't designed to meet their needs, there is recidivism, they just end up back on the streets," says Zielenski.
And often, victims end up back in the hands of their abusers.
"In sex trafficking we have one person trying to control the life of another individual for a commercial aspect to make money, and because money is on the line for a trafficker, after they are separated from their victim they will try to re-engage and recollect that victim," says Mike Miraglia, a violent crimes detective with Boise Police.
Miraglia says they are always looking for placement for these victims.
"One important piece of my approach is to get them to realize that I can help get them out of the life and I can get them out of the life now, but in order for me to be honest about what I'm saying, I need a place to take them," says Miraglia.
The Solace House will be that place once its doors open at the end of this fall.
"We will be able to bring in about five to 10 kids and plan to be a resource even outside the state," says Zielenski.
Zielenski says there will be intensive in-house care for these victims.
"So in-house we would be providing trauma care, counseling, potential medication management, really a whole array of treatment options so we can work to restore and rehabilitate," says Zielenski.
As far as how big of a problem child sex trafficking is in the Treasure Valley, Miraglia says it’s difficult to keep track.
"If you have a small town, you probably have a small problem but that doesn't mean you have no problem. If you have a medium-sized town or city like Boise, you probably have a medium-size issue," says Miraglia.
And for victims, Zielenski says the Solace House will hopefully be a permanent way out.
"It will create better outcomes for this population," says Zielenski.