Palm Beach County organization helping human trafficking victims

Palm Beach County organization helping human trafficking victims

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Place Of Hope was started and became an independent organization. It continues to help human trafficking victims.

Gina Fazio is the Director of Clinical Services.

"We've had victims as young as 10 and our program goes up to 25 so we've seen them all ages, and male and female. "

She said they offer intense therapy for the victims.

"We offer group therapy, individual therapy, it is trauma-specific therapy. and it's very intensive, it's more than once a week for 45 minutes. It's a lot. it's a lot of people that wrap around them. Case management so that we can get them back in school or learn a trade."

The road to healing takes times.

"Most of them feel unsafe, most of them don't know who they can trust, most of them feel isolated and on their own."

As Fazio meets with the victims and finds them a place to stay-- the organization is out in the community raising awareness in six counties. Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, Okeechobee and in Broward counties.

Laura Cusack is the Human Trafficking Prevention and Education Coordinator. "Just knowing that this is a local issue, these cases have helped shine a light that it's happening in our community."

Spreading the word.

"We will go pretty much anywhere to do prevention education. We will go to corporate groups, we will go to youth groups, we will go to community groups, women's groups."

It's about talking openly that human trafficking is a problem. "Our goal has really been to ramp up the education side of this but we are all the eyes and ears out there."

Fazio believes each victim is a precious life to help.

"They are someone's daughter, they are someone's niece, they are someone's sister and it could be yours."

If you suspect someone is a victim, call the national hotline for human trafficking at 1-888-373-7888. You can also text "help" to 233733 which is "Be Free."

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