MIAMI (CBS4) – Human trafficking and sexual exploitation of women is a major issue across the country and especially in South Florida.
A new facility in Miami for victims of these crimes aims to empower victims to change their lives.
The images at the Life of Freedom Center in Miami are stark, disturbing and powerful. For instance there are quotes from victims about abuse, visual representations of what victims endure and statistics about sexual exploitation and human trafficking that will shock you.
At the Center’s opening Tuesday victim Lisa Dugan shared her gripping story of meeting a man who forced her into a life of prostitution, violence and drugs.
“At age 19 or 20 I was introduced to a man who was a pimp,” she said. “He really began to beat me, abuse me, regularly. (He) threatened me, told me I wouldn’t be able to leave.”
Dugan spent 6 years enduring the horrors.
But after embracing her faith and entering therapy, Dugan is a survivor advocate and works for the Fields of Hope program, which runs the facility.
Throughout the facility are counseling rooms, a restoration room and a overwhelming feeling of comfort.
That’s what Jorge Veitia, founder of the Sol Media Network, envisioned when he helped create the center with the Fields of Hope Program.
“When you learn about the incredible crimes and trauma that these children go through as children that they are robbed of everything and to me, that’s just not okay,” he said. “We need to do everything possible to help these individuals obtain a life of freedom in our own communities.”
Victims will come to Life of Freedom after they are already receiving help. Life of Freedom will teach the women business skills to enable them to leave behind a life of victimization.
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