Some against proposed New Bern safe house for sex trafficking victims

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – There’s controversy in New Bern as a nonprofit organization works to open a safe house for sex trafficking victims.

It’s an issue that’s already divided some communities in the east.

Now, some people in New Bern say the safe house is good for the area, but others disagree.

A woman on a mission wants to empower other women to a life free from danger.

“These women have been placed in horrible situations,” explained Sarah Tellis. “It’s not just people across the world that are brought here. Some of them are our daughters.”

That’s why True Justice International CEO Sarah Tellis wants to open a safe house for sex trafficking victims over the age of 18 in the Craven County area.

“It will be protected and secluded so that the women are not put in vulnerable situations where there could be danger created to them by the public,” said Tellis. “It’s going to be a house of healing for them.”

But the thought has some community members on edge.

“I would not want that next door to where I am at,” one neighbor said.

“Since it will be women from all over the world, you don’t know exactly what it will bring into our country,” said another.

Tellis says North Carolina is in the top 10 for the most human trafficking cases in the United States. In fact, the organization already has its first client lined up.

“We are really excited to have her as we are working with another group and coming together to serve the young lady who has been trafficked,” said Tellis.

Organizers say the safe house will also benefit the community. They plan to council and help the women, then, ultimately, find them jobs and places to live.

Donna York disagrees. She says it’s going to hurt the community, not help.

“It’s going to take away from the jobs that are available for the people in the area, the kids that are graduating from high school that are looking for jobs,” said Donna York, New Bern resident.

True Justice International is still looking for a location to start up the safe house with a February target date. If you would like to donate to help with the safe house, click here for a link.

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