New "safe haven" home caters to sex trafficking victims, first in state
They're young, scared, hurting and mostly faceless victims. Many are stuck in the dangerous streets of prostitution until they have nowhere to turn. That's where Grateful Girls steps in.
"I saw the results of them living that type of lifestyle and this was part of my purpose."
Executive Director of Grateful Girls, Chandra Cooper knew that for many "home" was by the side of some pimp. So she created a safe haven for those who experienced sex trafficking, the first of its kind in the state. It’s a place where only young girls ages 16-21, can live and escape.
"They want a fresh start, they want a new beginning out of life,” Cooper said
There are six bedrooms with bright colors, encouraging posters, and 24/7 professional help and support. Other group homes house all types of troubled teens, sometimes making the girls feel ostracized.
"When you're in a household with young ladies who have not experienced this, it can be embarrassing to them, versus when you're in a household with the same behavior," Resident Worker/House mom Jaquetia Miller said.
Cooper showed Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, and Senator Lena Taylor around the space, hoping to gather even more support from the state. Kleefisch says this should shock others into action.
"The very idea that they’re teenagers, high school girls, who live here, is shocking for a lot people, and it should be."
If anything, it's the one place the girls can finally heal and learn one very important lesson.
"Learn to love who you are, love yourself first," Miller said.
Grateful Girls is doing a lot of work in the community. To learn more visit their website.