Sex trafficking victims find refuge in ‘safe house’

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Local organizations are helping victims of sex-trafficking by giving them a safe place to live. 2 NEWS Reporter Jordan Bowen spoke with a sex-trafficking survivor about how she’s finding freedom in her new home.

Michelle–the woman 2 NEWS Reporter Jordan Bowen spoke with–was remarkably open about her experiences and struggles. Now, The Dayton Board of Realtors is donating $2,500 to help women just like Michelle.

The money will go towards Be Free Dayton’s Homes for Healing. It’s a partnership with Oasis House which buys houses for victims to live in while they recover and prepare to enter back in to society.

Michelle is a sex-trafficking victim turned survivor, and has been a safe house resident since July. To protect her identity, we’ve chosen not to show her face.

“I’ve been an alcoholic and drug addict for the past 12 years,” Michelle said. “I met the Oasis House in jail when I was incarcerated. I would get out of jail and I would get stuck in a circle with no way out, no where to go except for the places where I did drugs.”

For Michelle, the new house is a refuge from a once seemingly never-ending nightmare of being used and manipulated for sex.

“With this and god, this was the only major turning point I had hoped for,” Michelle said. “This was the one thing that kept me relapsing was no place to live that was safe.”

Michelle is just one of the victims getting a safe place stay. Today, the organization owns one safe house, but they’re hoping to get more. Oasis House Executive Director Cheryl Oliver explains how there’s a need for more housing.

“We’re here to make sure that there are enough beds,” Oliver said. “Just in the last six months alone we’ve had more than 50 requests for a safe place to go because if they don’t have a safe place to go their only option is to go back to where they’ve been.”

And that’s a place Michelle hasn’t returned to since.

“I’ve been here since July,” Michelle said. “I’ve been sober and clean now for almost 9 months–the longest time in 12 years–and it’s because of a house like this that gave me a way out of that circle.”

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