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Safeguarding Los Angeles County's exploited youth

To the editor: Providing a safe place for the young victims of sexual exploitation is not as simple as whether to house them in a locked or unlocked facility. ("L.A. County supervisors debate whether to lock up at-risk foster youth," March 21)

The intent of our joint motion is to explore the options we have to ensure that these young girls are protected from their abusive exploiters. They need a safe place to heal and to receive physical and mental health treatment to overcome the trauma they have experienced.

In some cases, we are not adequately safeguarding our most vulnerable children. Girls are being recruited in probation halls and picked up at group homes by pimps who sell them for profit. If we want these girls to get on the path to a new life, we must provide them a safe place away from their traffickers.

Our motion simply calls for a feasibility study. It is not an announcement of support for locking up children.

Hilda Solis, Los Angeles

Don Knabe, Cerritos

The writers are members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

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