A Traverse City group is working to put an end to sex trafficking in northern Michigan.
Michigan currently has the second highest rate of sex trafficking in the nation. Citizens Against Sex Trafficking, or CAST, is trying to change that.
The Traverse City-based group recently received a donation of an entire house – for use as a safe house for trafficking victims.
Linda Solem is the Executive Director of CAST.
She says their model is a safe house for at the time of arrest… “we would hope to be integrating in with what we already have in our community with social services. So really at the point of arrest there will be an evaluation and an assessment done, and at that point we will place them what is best for them at that point.”
Trained staff will be living with the girls to help with job placement, schooling, counseling and more.
Solem doesn’t have exact numbers, but she does say that sex trafficking is often tied to other types of crimes.
“I just think we’re seeing more than we ever have in the past. We definitely seeing drug traffic moving up here. Many times when you see a drug bust, you can almost assume human sex trafficking is going to be involved as well. That’s what we’re learning” says Solem.
CAST plans to open the safe house in April.