SAVE THE STOLEN –
Oct. 8, 2021 – On Thursday, members of the Aspen House board, human trafficking survivors, and potential donors attended a luncheon on a rooftop in Salt Lake City to kickstart fundraising, with a goal to have Aspen House running by early 2023.
Aspen House, which is designed to mirror 57 other homes across the country, will provide a home for people recovering from trafficking situations.
McKnight said in 2019 there were 251 known victims of human trafficking in Utah; however, she says there are many more who are not known and human trafficking has “grown tremendously” in the last few years since that number was published. Aspen House will house between eight and 12 women for two years while they work toward recovery. McKnight said 75% of graduates for programs like this around the county are back on their feet after the two years. She said there is a “huge need” for this in Salt Lake City, because survivors in the state do not have a lot of resources available to them.
Brittney Garcia, one of the members of the board who is a survivor of human trafficking, said this house will provide women with trauma counseling, addiction help, and job training, which are all important for recovery.
Garcia and her sister, Brandi Funk, were both being victimized at the same time, each in their early 30s. Both met a different man who they thought loved and cared for them but who was actually “grooming” them so that they could be trafficked. Even when they became aware of it, they were not able to get out of their situations until they separately got arrested and sought help.