SALT LAKE CITY — “Your life inside of trafficking is hell every day. You dont want to do what you’re doing, you feel ashamed, you feel like it’s your fault, they start withholding the drugs they got you addicted to and so you’re willing to do what theyre asking of you,” said Brandy Funk, A sex trafficking survivor.
Utah is not immune to sex trafficking. The Beehive State ranks in the top 10 of US states for human trafficking cases.
Victim advocates are working to give women who survive these horrors a path to healing and are creating a safe haven to do so.
“You don't want to do what you’re doing, you feel ashamed, you feel like it’s your fault. They start withholding the drugs they got you addicted to and so you’re willing to do what they are asking of you,” Funk said.
“There’s probably 1000 women or more right now that are out there in the same situation that I was in,” said Brittney Garcia, who is also a sex trafficking survivor.
Funk and Garcia are now working to help other women regain their lives. While jail provided the only escape for these women, they want to give other victims a different way out.
That's why they are helping to build a safehouse for other women who walk in the shoes they once wore.
The Aspen House will provide shelter, care, and healing for sex trafficking victims, all under one roof.
“We don’t have anything right now that’s long term,” Garcia said.
Organizers say Aspen House is a model that works. The Aspen House network has a 75 percent success rate of helping women who enter the two year program.
“Once people understand that there’s a whole group of people who will show you the way and love you and teach you how to get your life back, it will be really important for these women because when you're stuck in the middle of trafficking there's no hope,” Funk said.
The goal is to open the Aspen House by 2023, to give women in Utah who have been trafficked a way out and put them on a path to self-sufficiency.
If you are interested in donating to help the Aspen House plant its roots, you can find that information by clicking here.