Sacramento, Calif., May 2, 2019 / 16:06 pm
Catholic Charities of the East Bay (CCEB) in California is remaining firm in its conviction against referring teenage victims of sex trafficking for contraception and abortions at a new facility, while emphasizing that medical care is not the new facility’s primary mission.
“We are not licensed to provide medical services,” said Mary Kuhn, spokesperson for CCEB. “We provide therapeutic services, shelter, case manage, and make sure the girls are getting either homeschooling or the right school, all of that...We're not involved in their medical decisions.”
Catholic Charities is planning to open a home for teenage victims of sex trafficking, but has faced opposition from neighbors and critics who oppose the Church’s teaching on contraception and abortion.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the planned home will house up to 12 teenage sex-trafficking victims, ages 12 to 17, in Sequoyah, a forested neighborhood of the eastern Oakland hills. The facility, a former rectory, is still awaiting state approval to begin operations.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley had approached the diocese with an initiative to tackle human trafficking in the area. The new facility will be named “Claire’s House,” after O’Malley’s mother.
Kuhn told CNA that the biggest problem faced by social services agencies and advocacy groups for victims of sex trafficking is a lack of supportive homes, and Claire's House is intended to fill that need.
The district attorney approached Oakland Bishop Michael Barber in 2015, along with other faith-based agencies in the area, asking for their help in addressing the problem of sex trafficking.
“There's a lot of support for this program in Alameda County and the greater Bay Area,” Kuhn told CNA.