Within the past 24 hours, the very first support group in Jacksonville for survivors of sex trafficking met for the first time.
The 2017 Federal Human Trafficking Report revealed Florida ranks third in the nation for active sex and labor trafficking cases working their way through federal court.
Our local federal court district, the Middle District of Florida, had the most active human trafficking cases in the state that year: 28.
When Alyssa Beck escaped from sex trafficking at 15 years old, she said she felt isolated.
“When I was going through my healing journey, I always felt like I was alone and there was no one that really understood me,” said Beck.
Now Beck is an advocacy specialist for other survivors.
Her latest project is organizing Jacksonville’s new survivor empowerment group.
It’s a support group for women, and those who identify as women, who have been affected by sex trafficking, sex work, prostitution, pornography or strip clubs.
“It’s not a one-size-fits-all. We want to open the doors for anyone to come in, really just have a safe space to talk,” said Beck.
The group will meet every two weeks.
Beck said she already anticipates outgrowing their current meeting space.
“We are more than our stories, more than survivors. We’re people, right? And, so, being able to work together to identify who we really are is so important,” said Beck.
Survivors who want to join will need to call or email the Delores Bar Weaver Policy Center for the meeting address: 904-412-8923 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center is at the helm of Florida’s new Open Doors Outreach Network; when a survivor is identified, they’re immediately paired with a survivor mentor, a regional advocate and a clinician.
To connect with the Open Doors Outreach Network, you can contact: