Victims of human trafficking in Los Angeles could soon have housing built for them after a City Council committee approved of the plan Wednesday.
The idea for the housing came from Councilwoman Nury Martinez, who instructed the city's Housing and Community Investment Department during the city's budget sessions earlier this year to develop housing for human trafficking victims.
Martinez represents the 6th Council District in the northeast San Fernando Valley, where human trafficking has been a longtime problem, particularly along Lankershim Boulevard and Sepulveda Boulevard.
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"This is an issue that has been of critical importance to me since the day I was elected to the City Council. This is not an issue that only affects my district, but its negative impacts are felt throughout Los Angeles and the rest of the world," Martinez said.
"This is an opportunity for the city to be a leader in helping women find a safe place to get free from their abuser. It is vital that we support human trafficking victims that are in need of a place that can offer refuge, resources, protection and serves as a transitional safe space," she said.
The City Council's Housing Committee approved the department's request to release a proposal to develop the housing, and the request is now expected to come before the full council next week.
"I know that for this population of those that are trafficked, threatened, abused and beaten, the need is imperative. With limited to no housing options, women are given hotel vouchers, sometimes to the same places they were rescued from, just to be victimized all over again," Martinez said. "This dedicated housing can finally be a victim's first step towards breaking the chains of abuse and we need to create a place that allows that to happen."