Submitted by Family Crisis Center
Rachel Tilley and Wagner Larson Silva, staff from Call to Freedom located in Sioux Falls met with staff from the Family Crisis Center on Monday, May 17th. Sara Newman, East Central Victim Witness Coordinator, was also present for the meeting. Call to Freedom staff presented what their organization can do.
Call to Freedom helps victims with all kinds of human trafficking. They are traveling the state of South Dakota to visit all 58 shelters to let them know they are there to help victims navigate a healthy path from victim to survivor. Their case managers coordinate with local experts to tailor services to each client. These services include safety assessments, getting housing, providing transportation, medical care, counseling for trauma and addition, receiving education, finding employment, providing advocacy and legal advocacy. They also serve Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska. Call to Freedom helps the victims connect to the closest shelter in their area or relocate out of state if they wish. On staff they have a bilingual person, a chemical dependency counselor, an employment specialist and an occupational therapist.
Marissa’s Project is a six unit apartment housing complex available for victims of human trafficking where they also receive case management, mentoring, transportation, clothing, food, budgeting, community partner referrals, occupational therapy and life skills training. Through Call to Freedom, victims can obtain housing and people are educated on trafficking and what victims need.
Call to Freedom provides what other agencies can’t provide.
Years ago, the age of trafficking victims was 13-14 years old. Today it is 9-10 years of age. Traffickers solicit victims at gas stations and even at baseball games. It happens in rural communities as well. Someone may need help if they are not free to come and go at will; have few or no personal possessions; are not in control of personal identification documents; avoid eye contact; or work long or unusual hours. Traffickers gain control by force, fraud or coercion. They may abuse, confine, confiscate the victim’s identification and sexually exploit them. Traffickers may make false offers of marriage, employment or a better life. They may threat harm, debt bondage, or psychologically manipulate victims. Are you being controlled by threats and deception? Are you earning money that you can’t keep? Are you being isolated from friends and family? Is your family unaware of your location? Does someone else have control of your identification? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, please call or text 605-759-3565 for Call to Freedom or http://www.calltofreedom.org. The National Human Trafficking Hotline is 1-888-373-7888. Call to Freedom is one of the many agencies that the Family Crisis Center works with for needs of the victims in our area. The Crisis Hotline for the Family Crisis Center is 605-472-0508.