Nonprofit helps child victims of human trafficking

PELHAM – Nonprofit Blanket Fort Hope is hosting a launch party at the Pelham Civic Complex on Thursday, April 13, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

The mission of Blanket Fort Hope is to care for children who are victims of human/sex trafficking through housing services and long-term care, and to prevent children from becoming victims by educating children and professionals who work with children about human trafficking.

Alexa James, vice president of Blanket Fort Hope, said human/sex trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in America.

“A person can sell a drug once, but you can sell a child 20 times in a day,” James said.

One of the organization’s primary goals is to build a safe house for child victims of human trafficking. A facility of this nature would have a huge impact because Alabama doesn’t currently have a shelter for child victims of human trafficking.

“There’s really not a lot of help for kids,” James said. “The average age of children who are being trafficked ranges from 11-14 years old with a lifespan of seven years from the point of entry into the world of human trafficking. Their life expectancy is greatly reduced because of drugs, AIDS, starvation, beatings and various other things that they endure.”

Blanket Fort Hope also provides care packages for children who have been rescued. One of the items included in their package is a handmade blanket.

“Blankets provide a sense of comfort for children, and a blanket fort is a place where kids feel secure and can be creative and imaginative,” James said. “Every blanket fort has a name and ours is named Hope, which is something that these children desperately need.”

Blanket Fort Hope will also provide education for adults who work with children in an effort to prevent human trafficking. The organization also aims to provide legal assistance to children and teach/train legal professionals on how to properly handle legal issues concerning child victims of sex trafficking.

The organization’s launch event will serve as an opportunity for the community to learn more about human/sex trafficking and how they can help. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, go to Blanketforthope.org.