Sexual trafficking is an enormous social issue, even in America, where many people assume that such problems don’t exist. The truth is that far too many women and children have become victims of domestic sex trafficking. In 2012, the International Labor Organization estimated that more than 20 million people are victims of human trafficking across the globe. Girls and women in the United States are often pulled into commercial sex trafficking through gangs, then silenced and unable to seek help or escape their situation. They very often suffer physical, reproductive, mental, and emotional health problems like addiction, extreme anxiety, severe depression, and malnutrition.
Redefining Refuge, a safe house for victims of sexual trafficking, works to shelter girls ages 12-17 who have been identified as victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation by means of human trafficking. The Redefining Refuge safe house spans 10 acres and is able to provide shelter and all fundamental needs for the girls in a safe and nurturing environment. This includes weekly therapeutic groups and individual counseling sessions centered around Trauma Informed Care, Stockholm Syndrome, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as basic life skills, mentoring, schooling, and recreation.
It is the goal of Redefining Refuge to utilize community alliances and public awareness education to “replace devastation with restoration, oppression with freedom, and despair with great hopefulness. For us, this means far more than assisting with the provision of fundamental needs, but rather equipping and empowering these individuals to build strong foundations for their futures by creating real and lasting change.”
Local Tampa attorney Maj Vasigh is one such community member who is seeking to support Redefining Refuge with his generous donations. Last year, Vasigh donated to the 2015 Bubbles and Butterflies Gala as a sponsor, and he will do the same this year for the 2016 Bubbles and Butterflies Gala. His large donation will help make it possible for Redefining Refuge to continue to provide a therapeutic safe haven for young girls rescued from the depravity of sexual trafficking.