On November 1, Selah Freedom, a Florida nonprofit, will open a safe house that offers sex trafficking survivors in the state — which has the third-highest number of human trafficking victims in the United States — an alternative to living life on the streets. Elizabeth Fisher is the co-founder of Selah. She said an increase in the number of safe houses, such as the one the group will open in a few weeks, “is really going to accelerate healing” for the victims.
The four-bedroom house located in Sarasota, Fla., is decorated just like a real home — complete with plush pillows, a flat-screen TV, antique furniture, candles, fresh linens and china glassware. “You rise up to your circumstances,” Fisher said, explaining that if you put a survivor in a “crummy halfway house,” they’re not going to feel they deserve any better nor adjust as well to living a life off the streets.
As part of living in the home, the sex trafficking survivors receive mental health assessments and treatment and learning life and job readiness skills. Fisher says that Selah’s goal “is to help survivors realize that what happened to them does not define them or limit them. We intend to open their eyes to their full purpose and identify and help them step fully into it!”
While the Selah safe house will only be able to serve adult sex trafficking survivors now, the group is planning to house and rehabilitate children. Though Selah is aware that some of the women who come to the safe house will return to a life of prostitution, Fisher says she also expects many of those women will return to the home, where she says “counselors will be waiting with fresh sheets, a stocked refrigerator, a fireplace and books — a place where the women can feel special.”
Learn more at Katie Ruck’s Mint Press News article: Nonprofit Opens Florida’s First ‘Safe Home’ For Sex Trafficking Victims.