JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF)
A local organization is helping women that been sexually exploited or trafficked in Jefferson County.
Organizers of Refuge for Women Ohio Valley share the importance of this program.
They have a long term residential safe house for women 18 and older to live up to a year, all free, where they work on healing from what they’ve been through.
“And really just try to re-educate themselves. Job skills, life skills to be able to get back out into the community and live with dignity and hope.”Theresa Golden – City Director, Refuge for Women Ohio Valley
Golden said a lot people think of trafficking as someone being pulled off the streets and shoved into a back of a truck but in this area there are other variables that play a huge factor.
“Drug addictions have caused women to go to extreme measures to be able to support their family so they’ve prostituted. A lot of times it’s families who are desperate who are selling off family members to be trafficked and so that they make money to feed, housing and things like that.”Theresa Golden – City Director, Refuge for Women Ohio Valley
Volunteers say the need for this program is so strong and they see how it is affecting the lives of the women in a positive way.
“The more I see them I can see some growth in them, in everything, their demeanor so what they are doing here at the refuge house is definitely working for them, definitely.”Alisha Kammerdiener – Volunteer
The women go through the program in three phases.
The first phase deals with letting them know they are safe.
The second phase is where they start integrating job skills and life skills.
The third phase is the transitional phase where they go into the world but still have the stability of coming back to the house
“We like to say we give them tools to put in their tool belt so that when they have things that happen in life, you know as all of us do, they know what tools to use instead of going back to the same life that they were in before.”Theresa Golden – City Director, Refuge for Women Ohio Valley
If you would like any additional information or to volunteer you can call 740-792-6011.