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Helping rescue trafficking victims: Las Vegas organization aims to expand resources

The non-profit organization is helping women escape human trafficking.
Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 11:28 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) -A Las Vegas organization looks to expand its resources to help women escape sex trafficking, offering emergency housing for those who have been arrested and just released from jail.

Nevada ranks ninth in the nation for human trafficking, according to a study from UNLV. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, someone in Nevada tried to contact for help for themselves or someone else more than 3,800 times since 2007.

“Women involved in the sex industry have said that they would get out if they felt like they had the skills and the resources to do something different. It feels very much like they are trapped and have no other options,” said Robin Smith, executive director of Refuge for Women.

The organization has helped 60 women since 2015 in their transitional homes, offering addiction and abuse recovery, and life skills to enter into the workforce.

Refuge for Women hopes to expand with an emergency housing option, to house 14 women at a time for 30 to 90 days. It’s a crucial step in helping women escape human trafficking.

After women leave jail, often times, they often do not have any funds or a safe place to go.

“There’s not a lot of resources for women who have been trafficked in the sex industry for immediate help, immediate resources. So our plan is to add that emergency house,” Smith said.

Hannah, who has been through the program, said the need for an emergency living space is crucial; her trafficker would come to find her, every time she tried to leave.

“I would run to my family. Eventually, my family had to stop letting me come there because he would show up and kick the door in,” Hannah said. She was arrested out of state, and offered the chance to relocate to Refuge for Women in Las Vegas. Hannah is now a dental assistant, and continuing her education.

“The hardest challenge is somewhere safe, somewhere urgent and somewhere where they can help you hide and to help you heal,” she said.

Refuge for Women is having a fundraiser April 7 from noon to 2 p.m. at The Blind Center off 1001 North Bruce Street in Las Vegas.

For more information on donations, support, volunteering or supply drives, click here: Refuge for Women