KRISTOFER COWLES, II
The Jefferson County-based safe house for sex–trafficking victims held an informational session for volunteers on Sept. 5 in the International Lounge, covering aspects of sex trafficking as well as how victims can find healing through a faith-based program.
Refuge for Women, a national nonprofit, seeks to help, heal and educate women who are rescued or escape from trafficking, explained Theresa Golden, city director for Refuge for Women Ohio Valley.
Tameka Ely, program director for Refuge, presented the outline of the program offered to the women who come to their safe house.
The program revolves around faith-based, long-term residential care. Victims, suffering from complex trauma due to multiple cases of abuse, go through a nine to 12 month period of healing, job training and education.
The first three months are devoted to healing and include weekly therapy sessions for the women. This period is followed by six months of job training and education, equipping the women to support themselves on their own income or to attend college.
If a woman chooses, three months of aftercare at the safe house are provided to help her get back on her feet after the trauma of sex trafficking.
“We have a couple different teams that we put together for volunteering opportunities,” said Franciscan University of Steubenville alumna Katie Davis, assistant program director for Refuge.
“Our in-home volunteering is going to be things like coming once a week to do projects around the house,” Davis said. Out–of–the–house volunteer opportunities include fundraising events, grant writing and community outreach such as visiting area schools to promote awareness for the ministry.
Over a dozen people attended the presentation. “Refuge is a necessity in our day and age,” said junior Cristina Delany. “It is a beautiful ministry, and I’m very excited to be a part of it and help these women in any way I can.”