Released 8 September 2013
The Salvation Army, a longtime foe of sex trafficking, is coming to the aid
of victims in need of emergency shelter.
The Salvation Army of Central Ohio recently began providing shelter for six
adult women for as long as 14 days at a location that will remain unidentified
for security reasons. The Salvation Army is the only agency in a 14-county area
to provide short-term, emergency shelter for sex-trafficking victims.
"One of the biggest gaps has been that moment when victims are identified
and there's a scramble for, ‘Where do I go tonight?' " said
Michelle Hannan, director of professional and community services for the
Salvation Army. Some women were placed in homeless or domestic-violence
shelters outside Franklin County as a stopgap measure.
"There's such a tremendous need. It's surprised us, really," Hannan said.
Women forced into the sex-for-sale business are often threatened by their
traffickers if they break free, and thus they need a secure, temporary shelter,
she said. She said 3 in every 4 women rescued from traffickers need a place to
go on a short-term basis.
Gracehaven, a faith-based group, was scheduled to open a residential program
for juvenile victims of trafficking, but the plan stalled. Rahab's Hideaway,
another central Ohio anti-trafficking group, has focused on longer-term
The Guest House, as the Salvation Army is calling the shelter, will have
on-site professional support from the organization's anti-human-trafficking
team. After the short stay, a woman can transition into residential treatment
programs, move in with a relative or find other long-term housing, Hannan
The Salvation Army manages the Central Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition, a
group of 90 organizations formed in response to the human-trafficking
Hannan said the coalition's caseload totals 63 trafficking survivors; some
are served on an emergency basis, while others need long-term help to deal with
physical injuries and past trauma.
The Salvation Army began helping prostitutes in England more than 125 years
ago. A decade ago, the organization began focusing on sex and labor trafficking
in the U.S.
For help or to report human trafficking, call the Ohio hot line,
614-285-4357. Outside Ohio, call the national hot line at 1-888-373-7888.