Shelter opening for victims of human trafficking

JACKSON, Miss.(WJTV) — Victims of human trafficking in Mississippi will soon have a safe haven and services specifically designed for them.

The Center for Violence Prevention is opening a shelter for adult victims of modern day slavery.

Sandy Middleton with the Center for Violence Prevention is hoping this new program along with its shelter and services for victims will provide a model for the rest of the nation.

“We’re learning a lot throughout the country and what the best things are to do for victims of human trafficking, and we for years literally to do all of our research and talk to experts across the country to determine what pieces we believe will work,” Sandy Middleton said.

Services like education, awareness, case management, therapy and a sense of protection.

Middleton says there’s something unique about the tower shelter that sets it apart from many others.

“We are allowing our clients to bring their children which anybody who is a mom knows it’s hard to recover anything without your kids and the magic of that as well as we will be able to work with the children at the same time to help to restore that family,” Middleton explained.

The $65,000 grant from the Mississippi department of health’s office against interpersonal violence will also fund a rapid response team to provide law enforcement with on the ground screenings from the professionals.

Sheriff Mason says that in many cases victims grow to not trust the police because they’ve been brainwashed.

“You have a street thug that takes the minds of someone that may have low self-esteem, and they promise them rainbow and a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and they let that trust go to them not knowing that you’re signing your life away,” Sheriff Mason said.

Middleton says they plan to house six to eight victims at first, but unfortunately she knows that number will quickly grow.

“Even in talking with different partners medical providers and law enforcement we know that there are so many victims out there that it’s just it’s going to continue to grow,” Middleton said.

The center has created a wish list of items they will need in their new shelter including furniture, they are registered at Best Buy and Bed Bath and Beyond.

You can also follow the Center for Violence Prevention on Facebook and Twitter and learn a more about their mission.

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