Lincoln nonprofit to open safe home for sex trafficking victims
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Sex trafficking isn’t just something that happens in big cities like Washington D.C., Atlanta or Las Vegas. It’s happening right here in Lincoln, and maybe at a rate higher than you might think. That’s why Disrupting Traffick is stepping in, giving victims a place where they can feel safe.
“You’re being exploited. Your body’s being sold every single day. You’re having to service individuals sexually, and you’re done with it. You want to leave, you know it’s not healthy for you,” said Brooke Carlson, executive director of Disrupting Traffick.
“When people are ready to leave, we have somewhere for them to go at that instant,” said Angela Unruh, residential therapist for Disrupting Traffick.
The safe home, which is set to open in September, will be the first of its kind in Lincoln, with the nearest ones in Omaha and Grand Island. Staff says it’s purpose is to serve hundreds who’ve experienced sex trafficking.
“When you’re escaping a situation where you’re literally being exploited, you’re being physically harmed, emotionally harmed, it can be manipulated and coerced to get away from that environment and know that you can sleep in safety. That alone is a huge reason as to why were doing this,” said Carlson.
Disrupting Traffick says it’ll be a place where girls and women can stay for about 30 days, relax and heal.
“To just let somebody breathe, and not dig into their trauma and not try to solve everything that they’ve gone through but to have space to be safe and to let their bodies come back down from that increased sense of not being safe,” Unruh added.
The organization says they already have community housing, thanks to current volunteers, but the safe home will give victims one designated place to go, while also creating that sense of family.
“There’s a whole different level of traumas that they’ve gone through, ways that their minds have adapted, ways that they’ve learned to survive,” Unruh said.
The organization says sex trafficking is an issue happening all over, but it’s trying to bring more awareness of it to the Capital City.
“It could be your niece. It could be your nephew. It could be your daughter or your son,” Carlson said.
If you think someone you know is being trafficked, Disrupting Traffick says look out for possible signs like new reproductive health issues, random cash, multiple cell phones and new tattoos on the neck or chest.
For safety reasons, the location of the safe home isn’t available to the public, but if you or someone you know needs help, visit HERE.
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