CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Charleston-based nonprofit that helps women who’ve dealt with human trafficking or are at risk of sexual violence is fighting to keep its transitional housing program open.
Leaders with the nonprofit I Am Voices say most people don’t realize these crimes are happening in their own backyards.
Founder Megan Manigault says when people think of human trafficking, they often think of what we see in movies. It’s often more discrete, happening in schools, gas stations and even parks.
When girls come to the shelter, I Am Voices offers emergency support and looks at what each individual needs. This can range from mental health services to hygiene necessities, or a safe house.
The nonprofit also reaches out to the at-risk population providing them with a safe place to learn life skills.
Manigault says there is an extreme need to sustain their programs. By expanding through partnerships like the one they have with the North Charleston Police Department, they can share information and get more survivors in their doors to get help.
To keep their services going, they need the community’s support.
“We should be calling on our community because it takes a village. We can’t do anything by sitting at the desk, or behind the desk, or watching stuff on the news to be a part of something and to want the change that we see,” Manigault says.
North Charleston Police Lt. Tireka Wright says these women often do not trust law enforcement for help. With this partnership, they can send victims to a safe place with people they can trust. Wright says it’s important to know what human trafficking looks like.
“Sometimes you think its prostitution but nowadays they’ve been lured into some type of sex trafficking that someone else is benefiting from and controlling their every move,” Wright says.
The organization is looking to raise funds through June 5 to support victims of sex trafficking in Charleston. To help, visit their donation page online, or text Voice to 801 801.
I Am Voices says they are always looking for people or organizations to partner with who can help them further their resources.
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