Open Door creates housing program for sex trafficking victims - FOX34 Lubbock

Open Door creates housing program for sex trafficking victims

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

In 2017, Lubbock reported 462 sexual assault cases. 69 of those identified as trafficking victims.

In light of this growing threat, Open Door is creating a transitional housing program called "Survivor Housing" to give physical, psychological, and emotional security to adult victims of sex trafficking.

The new "Survivor Housing" is the only transitional housing program for adult sex trafficking victims in Lubbock.

The director of this program, Jaime Wheeler, said this finally gives victims a space where they can share their story, while recovering from the trauma.

"We need people to be able to have people to walk along side them who have been through the journey themselves, who know what recovery looks like, who know how incredibly difficult it is, but also amazing how survivors are that they're resilient and they can keep going through horrors that most of us couldn't even imagine," Wheeler said.

Along with providing this emotional support, Open Door is partnering with Voice of Hope to help provide victims with physical care as well. 

"We can step in and offer that immediate crisis intervention for them, and then help them get into placement to be able to work through this and get out of this life, and help them get set up. What Open Door is doing here will help us transition them into hopefully a healthy lifestyle they can sustain," Kristin Murray, Executive Director for Voice of Hope, said.

The program will provide transitional housing to adult trafficking victims for periods of six to 18 months.

Wheeler said this includes services such as medical and mental health care, child care, and counseling.

"The goal, hopefully by the end of their time in the transitional program, would be that they are sustainable. That they do continue on with the support that we're going to be able to provide relationally, especially, but that they're able to move forward in ways that maybe they wouldn't have been able to before," Wheeler said.

This is made possible by a $1.6 million grant for two years.

Voice of Hope's Kristin Murray said this is a huge step for Lubbock.

"This funding to be able to be available to us, and for Open Door to step out and to apply for it and get it is absolutely huge to the services we'll be able to offer the victims here," Murray said.

In addition, the grant requires 20 percent of the program to be funded with West Texas dollars, and Open Door hopes to officially launch the housing program in January.

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