Sacred Roots Farm

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Sex trafficking operates in the shadows of society. For girls stuck in the darkness, it’s a harrowing nightmare. While several organizations in Georgia work to rescue young women from sex slavery, few offer long-term recovery. Sacred Roots Farm is one that does.

A home for women who have been sexually exploited, Sacred Roots Farm accepted its first participant in 2018 and has served six young women since then. The goal is to provide women ages 18 to 26 with long-term support and community for healing. The ladies participate in daily classes designed to help them in their recovery process as they learn about animals, plants and nature on the farm. The idyllic beauty of the 26-acre farm and farmhouse, donated by a supporter, is the polar opposite of the misery these women have endured.

“We hear some horrible stories,” says the executive director (name withheld due to the sensitivity of his position). He describes girls targeted by sex traffickers as those who have experienced emotional trauma, such as a loved one’s death or a divorce in the family: “With a little grooming, traffickers can exploit that. They sometimes start out as a concerned boyfriend. They lure girls in, and when they’re trapped, the girls are either unable to leave or afraid to leave due to shame or physical threats to them or their families. We had one girl say she’d had a gun put to her head with the trigger pulled so often, she didn’t care if she was shot.”

Nationally, approximately 100,000 children are forced into sex slavery each year, according to the Sacred Roots director, who says the average age of entry in Georgia is 12-14. With a rate of 3.85 per 100,000 persons, Georgia had the fourth highest rate of human trafficking among U.S. states in 2019, according to World Population Review.

“We use a relational approach to the recovery process with goals for women to overcome trauma, have healthy relationships, and increase education and employment skills,” says the director, noting that the Jackson EMC Foundation grant funded childcare, education and counseling to help girls meet these goals.

“It’s a ministry of after-care,” he says. “A lady gets free from human trafficking and probably doesn’t have a lot of support. It takes everybody coming from different angles to address the problem. Until they have a place to land, chances of them being prepared for the future are slim. That’s the space we seek to fill by providing a long-term place for healing.”

Along with providing counseling via traditional methods or by therapeutic horseback riding, Sacred Roots works to instill healthy habits and what the director calls “a rhythm for life.”

“We have to teach these young women to wake up and go to bed at the same time in order to shift their circadian rhythm from what they were used to, which for most was staying up all night working for their trafficker,” he says. “It’s not a quick fix. Whatever you think of as a worst-case scenario, these girls have had it a hundred times worse. We had one lady who did not have a memory of life apart from being sexually trafficked. It takes a while to normalize after going through that.”

Visit Sacred Roots Farm Website