“I ran. I just ran as hard as I could, to the first porch light I saw, and this elderly couple came out.”
January National Human trafficking Prevention Month and ABC11 spotlight the local nonprofit’s mission to reach, save and restore the lives of survivors.
Cry Freedom missions helps victims of sex trafficking in North Carolina, which has the ninth highest number of cases in the nation, according to the NC Department of Administration.
“We are committed to ending human trafficking and ending sex trafficking,” explained Cry Freedom Missions CEO Beverly Weeks. “And so there was a gift that was included in the North Carolina state budget to allow us to purchase this building so that we could see more survivors come to work, have jobs,” Weeks added of his last store in Goldsboro.
Sales of home decor, gifts, and specialty jewelry and other items handcrafted by survivors all help provide funding for the nonprofit organization.
Cry Freedom Missions rescues victims and places them in a safe house in eastern North Carolina where they receive treatment, therapy and rehabilitation.
“When they reach a certain part of the program, they can be employed in stores. We have six survivors,” Weeks explained.
One such employee is Krystal, whose name is withheld.
“I’m the manager of the coffee shop,” Crystal said. “It gave me purpose. It gave me a reason. And I can serve people. I get to share my testimony every day at work.”
Crystal was rescued from human trafficking in May 2021.
“I was in fear for my life. I had a very traumatic experience and I finally broke free. I ran, I just ran as hard as I could, I ran to the first driveway light I saw and this elderly couple came out at three in the morning and called for help. They got me back to safety,” Krystal explained.
Crystal was taken to a safe house where she received medical care, therapy, rehabilitation and renewed faith.
“I absolutely fell in love with Jesus at the safe house,” Crystal said.
“I work closely with some of the survivors as they go through vocational training and I really love my job. She gives me purpose,” Krystal added.
While North Carolina ranks ninth in the nation, experts say the number is likely higher because it’s a crime hiding in plain sight.
“There’s a variety of reasons,” said Sherry Clayton, Cry Freedom Missions volunteer and prison and hotel outreach coordinator, about why the state ranks so high on the problem.
“We have interstates here, and we also have coastal communities. This is very noticeable in coastal communities. And unfortunately, as much as we love our military bases, this often happens in military base communities as well,” Clayton added. .
Cry Freedom Missions also provides court advocacy and life skills classes along with outreach, safe housing and employment.
Throughout January, all jewelry made by victims is 20 percent off as part of Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
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People who survived sex trafficking | Cry Freedom Missions safe houses and shops help fight human trafficking in North Carolina
Source link People who survived sex trafficking | Cry Freedom Missions safe houses and shops help fight human trafficking in North Carolina