Amirah is one of the only non-profit organizations in the country that houses victims of sex trafficking. Though one of only two homes in New England that allows sex trafficking victims to live rent-free for up to twelve months has been forced to shut its doors, Amirah members haven't given up hope. Amirah officials say that the cost to keep the remaining home functioning is about $25,000-$300,000 a year, according to WHDH News in Boston. Amirah representatives say that they are concerned that they will not have enough funding to keep providing refuge for the victims of sex trafficking, because of a lack of awareness.
"There is still insufficient awareness of the problem of human trafficking in this area, in Boston, here on the North Shore, around New England itself," Nancy Mering, director of Amirah Boston. "It's pretty cost intensive because the work is intensive, the work of dealing with women who are so traumatized."
Peter DiMarzio of Homeland Security Investigations said that most people tend to think the victims of sex trafficking are only from foreign nations.
"It's actually the girl next door, someone's daughter, someone's sister that is caught up in this as well," DiMarzio explained also stating that breaking free from the sex slave trade can be more dangerous without help. "The fear factor is tremendous and it doesn't stop even after the perpetrator is arrested because that perpetrator has friends, that perpetrator still has associates that are still probably on street."
Amirah officials feel the lack of funds being donated isn't because no one cares, it's because Americans do not realize this sex trafficking is actually going on in their cities, nor how a victim gets trapped into sex slavery in the first place.
Amirah officials put together a GoFundMe page. Their plan is to purchase the house they are currently renting to reduce overall operating costs. They estimate that by purchasing the home, they will save over one thousand dollars a month. Anita Coco, a board member, said in addition to saving money on rent, owning the house will also open up grant opportunities. The organization's website explains.
"We are encouraged, because if the campaign succeeds, we will be saving expenses (lower mortgage vs. current rent), preserving our investment, and providing opportunities to qualify for specific grants. We believe the location of this safe house is ideal, and after investing so much in renovations, this seems the best way to steward this beautiful resource."Homeland Security Investigations encourages people report suspected human traffickers by calling its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by filling out its online tip form. Sex trafficking reports can remain anonymous.