Human trafficking is an underreported crime and a thriving industry in NOLA. At Eden House, we provide a safe home with individualized services- from health, legal to therapy- for women escaping a life of forced prostitution. Currently, we have 8 women, between 20 – 50 years old, in our 2-year program. We hold their hand throughout their journey, so that one-day, they can live on their own. Our belief is ‘Love Heals,’ because through love, we can end sex trafficking, one woman at a time. Since 2012, Eden House has impacted almost 150 lives.
Victims usually have a history of sexual abuse as children, making them vulnerable to run away into something much worse than the situation they were leaving. Once they enter the trafficking world, they’re led into drug addiction and other traumas. It’s very difficult to escape, as there is a complex, emotional bond between the trafficker and his stable- a form of dependency. It’s not about sex, it’s about power over someone else and reaping money from it. Women and men are exploited daily and the fruits of their labor are taken away from them. To end human trafficking, society needs to start recognizing it and stop pretending it doesn’t exist. It’s not a victimless crime and the women are not criminals.
My work in battling human trafficking stems from my belief that women’s rights are human rights. If we want a just and equal society, we must empower women. Through Eden House, I’m able to play my part to ensure this. Sitting with the women every morning, watching their strength grow each day, and witnessing their graduation is an enormous privilege. From that, I draw my own strength.