ORLANDO, Fla. — In just a matter of days, a shelter for survivors of various forms of trafficking will be available in the Orlando area. This one is said to be the only "low-barrier" shelter and safe house in Central Florida.
The purpose is to protect people from extremely rough situations.
What You Need To Know
- Human trafficking shelter in Orlando a safe house for victims
- It is said to be the only "low-barrier" shelter in Central Florida
- The purpose is to protect people from extremely rough situations
- More Orange County News
One survivor, Joanne, was labor trafficked after moving to Central Florida with family from the Bahamas. It didn't click with her right away, though.
"A lot of the time it isn't like the big, bad boogie man that's like, oh, I'm gonna stand here and you're gonna work in this sweat shop. It can be people...it was a person that I really trusted," she said. "I just thought I was having a bad life, and it really made me realize that this is a real thing, and this can happen to anyone."
Joanne eventually stumbled upon The Lifeboat Project, where she's now an advocate. Her involvement made her realize that it was more than just a bad life in the U.S. And she is not alone.
Jill Bolander Cohen, who founded The Lifeboat Project, said Central Florida is third in the state for human trafficking. Florida is third in the nation.
Hence the need for a shelter. A former four unit condo building is being refurbished thanks to the group HomeAid Orlando.
"We want it to be a place of calm, and peacefulness, and hope," Cohen said.
She said she hears from law enforcement all the time about people needing places to go.
The shelter will be able to help 14 people at a time.