Homeless teenagers across the country, including here in South Carolina, often get misunderstood.
The perception that many of them are simply runaways, or rebellious vagrants, is far from an accurate one. Many of them come from harsh circumstances, and just don’t have access to help or more traditional support systems like family, church, or school.
Some, even, are being withheld from such support, in cases of human trafficking, kids forced into the underground sex industry.
That’s why some area gas stations are now teaming up with a nationwide network to help connect these kids to the help they need.
Local QuikTrip stores are becoming “TXT 4 HELP” locations, where signs are displayed with contact info that brings at risk teens or human trafficking victims to the organization National Safe Place Network.
The network is a nationwide outreach and prevention program for youth in crisis, with more than 20,000 locations across the country.
Pendleton Place here in Greenville will be its first local network safe place for these teens.
The group’s organizers say young people at risk often go unnoticed, and this is a chance to bring them back into the light.