FLORIDA: “Selah Freedom” Safe House for Trafficking Victims Opens

Elizabeth Fisher, cofounder of Selah Freedom, shows off the living room of a safe house serving Sarasota and Manatee counties last week.

By J. David McSwane on October 19, 2013—
“In a nondescript home in a nearby neighborhood, Elizabeth Fisher explains that salvation is a plush pillow and new sheets, a flat-screen TV, antique furniture.

And check out the glassware.

“You can’t help but feel special every time you get a drink of water,” Fisher says, holding one piece from the collection of red-stained china on the shelf.

“Special” is a deliberate treatment designed for those who have been treated as anything but.

Beginning Nov. 1, Selah Freedom will open the first safe house for adult victims of sex trafficking in this region. With Florida having the third-worst trafficking problem in the nation, experts across the state are calling for safe houses such as this.

“I think this is really going to accelerate healing,” says Fisher, co-founder of Selah.

“You rise up to your circumstances,” she says as she gives a tour of the home, inconspicuously hidden in a typical Florida neighborhood.

“You throw them into a crummy halfway house, and they’re going to say, ‘Well, this is me.’ ”

Most often, a temporary jail cell is the only respite these women will receive. With the opening of this safe house, and plans for another in the coming year, Selah hopes to change that.

In a little more than a year, Selah has forged success where others across the country and the state have failed — a real home is stocked, staffed and ready to go.

This is no flop house, but rather a charming domicile replete with the scent of old wood, new candles and fresh linen, brimming with the luxuries more typically afforded to those who have gazed upon this region’s prostitution problem from afar, never having to feel the desperation beneath it.”

For the rest of the original article, please click here.

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