YWCA developing new center for human trafficking victims

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The YWCA in Topeka is launching a new way to help victims of human trafficking.

The organization has been helping women and victims of human trafficking for more than four decades, but they see a growing need for a middle-ground when it comes to the help itself.

The planned Human Trafficking Drop-in Center will be the first of its kind in Topeka.

It'll be a place to take the first steps on the path to recovery.

"This seemed like a program that would really touch the lives of some people who are trapped in some pretty horrible situations," said Joan Wagnon, the Topeka Rotarian Foundation president.

From the outside, it might seem just like any other business going through a few renovations - but in just a few months 1309 SW Huntoon will be a hub for women in need.

"These are women who, with some help, can turn their life around," Wagnon said.

It's being made possible due largely to a $20,000 donation from the Topeka Rotary Foundation.

"Service to others is the rent that we pay for living on this earth," Wagnon continued. "This is just one more thing that we can do to make our community better."

"Last year, our agency alone served 118 victims of sex-trafficking. And most of these people are people who are from our area," said Michelle McCormick, the program director for the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment.

"We needed away to get people's basic needs met before they could engage in some of our longer-term more therapeutic services," McCormick said.

McCormick believes the new facility will make an immediate impact.

"At least 50, up to 100 people in our first year," she said.

The facility could open as soon as October.

To find out more - click here.