Blazing Hope Ranch on track to open housing for trafficking surv - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Blazing Hope Ranch on track to open housing for trafficking survivors

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RHEA COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

The construction of a new facility to help victims of human trafficking is coming along after one year.

Even though Blazing Hope Ranch in Graysville is not completely developed yet, the team is already providing support services to victims. 

Co-founder and Executive Director, David Haggard, said he and his wife Jolien started the program with the help of a local church, which donated the 120-acre property, free of charge.

READ MORE | New horse ranch aims to help local victims of human trafficking

The average age of girls who are abducted and sold into human trafficking is 13 years old, and resources are often limited. 

Haggard said providing resources to trafficking victims and survivors is a statewide effort, and is extremely important in helping them recover. 

"Tennessee has been on the forefront of really providing care and really getting to the needs of survivors and meeting those needs," said Haggard. "That kind of trauma and experience that those young women and sometimes men have is really life altering and affects them long term."

The ranch uses equestrian therapy to help trafficking survivors, with four horses on site.  

As of now, the ranch provides temporary housing case by case, but soon survivors will be able to live on site while participating in the 18 to 24-month program in donated modular homes.

"Providing them a place where they can stop and step away from all the demands of life and say here is a place where I can go and I can get the kind of healing and assistance that I need," said Haggard. 

The organization is privately funded, but will team up with other local organizations to help provide resources to those in need. 

Haggard said he's proud of the growing awareness on human trafficking, but believes there's more work to be done in order to truly "end it."

"It really is the beginning. We can take a day and say we're going to focus on it, but lets not leave it there. What we really need to do is realize that there are real people that are impacted and affected by trafficking."

Haggard plans to have the module homes ready for move-in by mid-April. 

Anyone who'd like to get involved or volunteer with the organization, email blazinghopetn@gmail.com. You can also visit the organization's website or Facebook page

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