ROANOKE, Va. – A safe space for human trafficking victims is one step closer to opening in the Roanoke Valley.
Street Ransom has spent years renovating a safe home and raising money for operating costs.
The nonprofit just announced it is opening the residential program in 2021.
It will be the only safe home in Virginia that serves juvenile victims of sex trafficking.
Virginia was the last state to criminalize human trafficking and Street Ransom leaders say the commonwealth has been playing catch-up ever since.
“I think for so long we didn’t realize it was a problem here and so we weren’t looking for it and so we didn’t know the red flags, our law enforcement was not trained, our laws were lacking and so as we are playing catch-up in that process we are receiving more calls about human trafficking, we are identifying more victims,” said Rebekah Marquez, Street Ransom, Communications Coordinator.
Street Ransom has raised enough money to cover shelter operating costs for three years.
The nonprofit will release a specific opening date in January 2021.