Human Trafficking Victims Find Solace, Support At Tulsa Center
TULSA, Oklahoma - Human trafficking is a crime that continues to grow in Oklahoma. For the first time ever, the Attorney General's office has certified a program that offers services to adult victims of human sex trafficking.
It's a lifestyle that many assume is a choice.
"We felt as Christians this was our responsibility to help these victims to get out of that life," DaySpring Villa Executive Director Wilma Lively said. "We're finding a lot of them have been drawn in, and it's not a life that they would choose."
Last year, more than 100 calls from Oklahoma victims flooded the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline.
This sparked the DaySpring Villa of Tulsa to do something. It's Oklahoma's only certified center to treat adult human sex trafficking victims.
"What we're going to be able to do is offer them a safe place," Lively said. "If they need immediate medical attention, we will help them get medical attention and they'll have rooms, clothing we will have for them."
"For 17 years, I was trafficked," said Jeannetta McCrery with DaySpring Villa. "I was abducted at the age of 12, trafficked all over the United States, which after about 11 years went into just coping and survival mode, drug addiction, prisons, arrests."
Jeannetta McCrery works at DaySpring Villa. She was molested as a young child and from there her life took a downward spiral.
"When you've been sexually abused and it has not been dealt with and there are suppressed issues, you feel like that's your lot in life," McCrery said. "It's very hard to open up and talk to someone that does not understand or does not identify."
McCrery leaves this message for women who may be afraid to admit they're a victim.
"It's okay that you did nothing wrong," she said. "That there are people out there that understand and want to help you, and we would love to help you at DaySpring Villa. Our doors are always open."
DaySpring Villa has also started a new campaign to raise $635,000. They hope to use this money to renovate an old section of their building and add a new part that will serve solely as the human trafficking victims' department.