By Kristen Jordan Shamus, The Associated Press
DETROIT (AP) — Some were picked up as teenage runaways looking for a way out of volatile homes.
Others got hooked on drugs and did whatever it took to finance their addictions, even if it meant selling their bodies.Still others fled their native countries seeking opportunity in the land of the free, only to find themselves trapped in jobs filled with false promises and little pay, threatened with deportation if they complained or tried to leave.
The stories of how they got there are all different. But if there’s one thing that’s true about most survivors of human trafficking, it’s this: Escaping isn’t as simple as walking away.
Edee Franklin of Huntington Woods describes human trafficking as a snare of tiny strings that pulls victims back again and again.
One by one, she’s trying to snip those strings to free women who want to get out, but have yet to find a way because they don’t have a safe place to live or are without access to drug or alcohol rehab, financial security, job training or an education.
Franklin is doing it with Sanctum House, the first human trafficking shelter of its kind in southeastern Michigan.
“There are women out there right now that are being raped and brutalized and they are saying, ‘Dear God, get me out of this.’ And there’s a place for them. They just don’t know it yet,” Franklin said.