Based in South Florida, Hepzibah House is a faith-based safe house and multi-faceted residential treatment facility for those who have been freed from human trafficking and sexual exploitation. This population is in urgent need of humanitarian intervention in both services and resources. Most resources devoted to addressing human trafficking problems are sent outside the United States, leaving very limited funding available locally.
Hepzibah House’s therapeutic interventions will include art, music, talk and psychotherapy, integrating both secular and faith-based applications. While addressing the mental and emotional repercussions of having survived human trafficking and sexual exploitation, Hepzibah House will also teach basic skills for securing jobs and independent living, preparing them for a future beyond this tragic experience.
While the most lucrative criminal enterprise in the world is the illegal drug trade, human trafficking is currently second and expected to overtake drug trafficking in the next few years, due to lowered legal risks and higher profitability (Stop the Traffic). A kilo of cocaine may be sold once; a human may be sold again, and again, and again, ensuring the thriving future of this horrific enterprise.
The United States is a major destination country for trafficked individuals. Although estimations vary, between 15,000 and 60,000 foreign nationals are trafficked into our nation annually (Human Trafficking). Florida is a strategic destination point for victims of human trafficking: “In FY 2002, approximately 19% of federally ‘certified’ trafficking victims who received benefits and services from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services lived in Florida (U.S. Department of Justice, 2004)” (Florida Department of Law Enforcement).
In global terms, human trafficking was estimated to be a $10 billion dollar industry by the U.S Department of Justice in 2006. Up to 80% of trafficked persons are women and children, the majority of which are exploited in the sex industry. The state of Florida has the third highest population of trafficked individuals in the United States.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Jan 20, 2011,
Human Trafficking, Jan 20, 2011, www.humantraffickinged.com,
Stop the Traffik, Feb 4, 2011, www.dss.cahwnet.gov/refugeeprogram/PG1268.htm