The Standard April 22, 2023
As neat as a pin. Every bed in the airy, well-appointed house is perfectly made. The same goes for the twin-over-full bunk beds in the cottage, where the reunification of children and mothers is enabled. Looking at the lovely furnishings and artwork, seemingly fresh from a magazine, could give the impression of residents who lead tidy, unencumbered lives. The closed gate at the entrance of the 10-acre campus as well as the tech room where numerous security cameras are monitored are the only tangible clues as to the upheaval and trauma in women’s lives which necessitated the existence of this safe house at an undisclosed location near Pitt County. Originally Anchor House, built as a rehabilitation center for boys surviving sex trafficking, Freedom House now offers a safe, nurturing atmosphere where women who have been sexually exploited can be restored after having been reached and rescued. By what only can be considered divine intervention, Cry Freedom Missions (CFM) got into the application process right before the Board of Directors of Restore One was deciding how to donate all assets to another nonprofit organization, as theirs unfortunately was being disassembled.
An outgrowth of the Wayne Pregnancy Center, CFM has been operating for over five years. Leaders were noticing a pattern that many women came accompanied by a man, without a proper ID and unable to provide a home address. It became clear that some of these men had women in virtual chains. In 2019 the CFM Shoppe was opened in Goldsboro, NC and was expanded in 2022 to include a coffee shoppe and cafe. In 2020 a satellite office opened in Sanford and in 2021 a CFM Shoppe and region office came to Roxboro.
According to a recent Facebook post, “A critical first step in identifying potential survivors of trafficking is building relationships. Every week, our Goldsboro, Sanford and Roxboro area teams go out into the community with the goal of establishing relationships with those who are at high risk for involvement in human trafficking.” At hotels known for prostitution, jails, emergency shelters, strip clubs, parks, and vacant houses, CFM reaches out with the love of Christ. In 2022 they helped rescue over 60 women from the bondage of human trafficking. These survivors are invited to stay on the beautiful campus of the safe house for up to two years. They can get an education, a GED, counseling, job skills training, job opportunities at Christian-owned businesses and much more.
Some of the most widely circulated myths about human trafficking are that it often involves kidnapping or physically forcing someone into horrible circumstances and that it happens across state or national lines. Actually, most traffickers use methods such as defrauding, manipulating, or threatening victims into providing commercial sex labor. More often than not, drugs are involved, and addiction ends up playing a pivotal role, sometimes with drugs being forced upon the victim. North Carolina is among the top ten states for reported human trafficking cases.
The CFM Board of Directors wanted Freedom House to operate effectively for two years before bringing in more churches, businesses and supporters. This milestone has been surpassed. On Tuesday, May 2 at 6:00 PM at Rock Springs Center in Greenville there will be an informational fundraising banquet for the safe house. To find out more, please contact Beverly Weeks at 919-920-5189. Let’s join in this monumental effort to bring hope and tangible resources to women who need to know they are intrinsically valuable, treasured, and near to the heart of Jesus.
The J.B. Phillips translation has quite a unique presentation of Hebrews 13:4-5. “Both honourable marriage and chastity should be honoured by all of you. God Himself will judge those who traffic in the bodies of others or defile the relationship of marriage.” Eugene Peterson in The Message translates the text this way. “Look on victims of abuse as if what happened to them had happened to you. Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex.” (Hebrews 13:3-5)