The police officers patrolling the streets found her. She was scared, shaking, and covered with a sheer curtain as her only protection from the freezing temperatures. As they spoke with her, they identified her as a possible victim of sexual exploitation and instantly knew who to call: the RISE Coalition Victims Response Team.
Our team met her at a local hospital with a Go Bag. With a pilot and security team on standby, a safety plan was orchestrated to get this survivor to a new destination far from her traffickers. After a long flight to her new sanctuary, she reached out to our team with this message: “Thank you so much for everything. You truly saved my life, and I will forever be indebted to you. God bless you and all the rest of your angels. God bless you and thank you.”
The Joplin community’s awareness of the signs of human trafficking and willingness to partner with RISE made the safety of this individual possible.
A young, severely beaten man ran into a Joplin area convenience store asking for help. The clerk immediately jumped into action and called 911. He was taken to a local hospital, where his social worker started connecting the dots that he could potentially be a victim of trafficking. When the social worker contacted the RISE Victims Response Team and shared the red flag indicators of trafficking she discovered, our team knew we could help. We gave the young man a Go Bag and visited him daily as he recovered from his injuries.
Often, a victim of exploitation needs a phone that does not have any ties with their trafficker; this man was no different. With the connection to a local phone repair shop, a new phone was provided for this young man. After several days in the hospital, ground and air transportation was facilitated to get him to safety.
It takes multiple people and resources to get a victim to safety. The RISE Coalition seeks to continually expand connections in our community to better respond to the needs of trafficked individuals.