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Call to Freedom seeking donations to fund new housing facility

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 7:40 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A Sioux Falls organization that helps victims of human trafficking is looking to expand the housing they offer to those they help. Call To Freedom started in 2016 to help provide support and resources for human trafficking victims.

With the new housing project, their goal is to better serve those victims and their children. Call to Freedom says the need for housing for victims of human trafficking has outgrown their current facility, which has 7 one-bedroom apartments.

The new facility called the Marissa’s Housing Project would include one, two, and three-bedroom apartments. Officials say they’ve noticed a growing need for many human trafficking victims to have a housing option that allows them to stay with their children.

“Along the way, we found that we were having women come to Marissa’s Project or in outreach and they were working on reuniting with their children, and we didn’t have the capacity to be able to do that,” said Kelsey Veurink, Director of Marissa’s Project.

Over one-quarter of women staying at the Call to Freedom facility have cut their stay short to be reunited with their children. The new housing project eliminates the need for trafficking victims to choose between reunification and utilizing a safe housing option.

“A lot of times self-confidence for trafficking victims is difficult, so they don’t really want to move forward for themselves until their self-confidence is restored, but they will do it for our children, so a big part of their process for their healing is to be reunified with their children,” said Becky Rasmussen, Executive Director for Call To Freedom.

Call to Freedom says for human trafficking victims, there is no set course to recover from the physical and psychological issues they go through.

Officials say each person has a different experience. and with Marissa’s Housing Project, they have the best chance to help victims recover in their own way at their own pace.

“The unique thing about Marissa’s housing project is we meet survivors where they’re at, we say how long do you need to stay here, our goal is to get them to the point where they’re ready to transition,” said Rasmussen.

Call to Freedom has raised over $484,000 for the new facility. they’ve also asked the city for a $500,000 donation.

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