BOSTON - Massachusetts is launching a new program to help children and runaways lured into prostitution.
The Massachusetts Department of Social Services next month plans to open nine shelter beds at a secure Boston location for girls from 12 to 21 who had been coerced into prostitution.
Another five beds for girls, boys and transgendered youths who have been sexually exploited will be opened in private homes.
The $1 million program is a response to a spike in the number of cases of teen runaways who have become prostitutes DSS spokeswoman Jennifer Kritz told The Boston Sunday Herald.
Statistics released by the Teen Prostitution Prevention Project found 70 percent of underage prostitutes arrested in Suffolk County since 2005 were runaways.
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