Local nonprofit helps human trafficking survivors start new life
Human trafficking survivors in the Tennessee Valley area have a safe place to turn as they try to heal and put the past behind them.
An estimated 300,000 women and children are trafficked for sex each year in the United States.
A local organization is giving hope to survivors trying to start a new life.
Blazing Hope Ranch is a faith-based nonprofit in the Tennessee Valley area.
Jo Haggard started the nonprofit with her husband in 2015.
She says they help adult female survivors of human trafficking who have gotten out of bad situations but have yet to find their way.
“We don't take women who are still on the street and ready to get off. We take the women who are off but aren't thriving. Their trauma is so deep that it's affecting every part of their life,” Haggard told Channel 3.
She guides women through an 18 to 24 month rehabilitation program. They live on the 120 acre property learning life skills, job skills and undergoing equestrian-based therapy, using horses that have been rescued from abuse.
Haggard says the stories of how women got there are all different but if one thing is true about survivors it’s that they’re all searching for the same thing.
“I think the perception is that everyone who is trafficked is on drugs, they did something to put themselves in that situation. I would say across the board the one thing that is similar is a desire to be loved and that's what we all want, right? You can't help it if you're a kid and no one loves you. If they don't, you're looking for it and that's not your fault,” said Haggard.
The hope is that survivors can heal at Blazing Hope Ranch and put the past behind them.
The organization relies on private donations.
To learn more about the nonprofit and how you can help visit its website here.