AKRON, Ohio — Ohio ranks fourth in the nation for human trafficking. In spite of the dire numbers, one organization remains committed to helping women and children rescued from sex slavery.
This month RAHAB Ministries celebrates the fifth anniversary of its adult safe house, which has offered hope to more than 120 survivors. RAHAB is an acronym for Reaching Above Hopelessness and Brokenness.
We were invited to the safe house last week. Peace and tranquility surround a postcard pretty scene. In this secluded spot on the map, women come to this home to find not only peace, but survival. This is a special home for women who have known the enslavement of a dark world. At this home they find specialists guiding them from a life trapped in sex trafficking.
“Step away from the lives and the trauma they were experiencing,” said Alicia Ley.
Ley is one of several specialists running this safe house for women. In the gently rolling hills of northeast Ohio in a place few know of, there is safety. The location of the RAHAB adult safe house is confidential. Our cameras were invited on a day when the women, under treatment, are away with supervisors, so that we maintain the confidence of those receiving shelter and care. But today, those who help them tell their stories.
“We show them that they have value and that they have worth,” said Elaine Oliver, one of several working at the safe house.
In five years, the RAHAB adult safe house has helped once-trapped women find successes. 17 years ago, the spiritually-based RAHAB, launched its life-saving mission. In this house, which is their home for however long it is needed, each woman finds love and professional help.
“Trauma therapy. They do get and I.O.P. assessment. That’s the drug and alcohol counseling,” explained Oliver.
It begins there but help goes far deeper. The old life in the sex trafficking business must be left and a new course toward a positive future must be found.
“We show them that they have value and they have worth,” said Oliver.
Under supervision, the women share household duties. RAHAB is Christian-based, but religion is not pushed. Still there are universal truths which are taught.
“Even if a woman we’re serving here chooses not to adopt a Christian philosophy, belief system, we can always talk about hope,” shared Sonja White.
This is the fifth anniversary of the RAHAB adult safe house, which looks for financial donations to keep going. The women who live here find blessings, but be mindful, blessings are a two-way street.
“Isn’t that always the truth? When you set out to bless someone, you are the one who is most blessed,” added White.
In addition to the adult safe house, RAHAB opened Rebecca’s Place last spring, a home that is exclusively for children rescued from the sex trafficking industry.