HRC Ministries shifts focus to support survivors of sex trafficking

SPOKANE, Wash. — The trauma that women experience as a result of human trafficking can feel inescapable without the right resources, and support. There’s a new facility in our area working to be a part of that change- and it’s 100% free.

HRC Ministries is working to transform the lives of victims. It has been open for over seven years and has always been an outreach organization. Recently, they shifted their focus and opened a new center to serve as a long-term care program for adult female survivors of human trafficking.

“I have never in my life ran into something so evil as trafficking,” Caleb Altmeyer, Founder & Executive Director of HRC Ministries, told us.

For Altmeyer, this is a fight he felt called to get into. His family was inspired after realizing a childhood friend of theirs was a victim herself. She was trafficked by her parents.

Sometimes there’s a misconception in society that once women are out of trafficking, they’re okay. That’s not true, and the value of therapy here can’t be underestimated.

“We know women who have been raped one time. These women have been raped 10, 15, and 20 times a day. So when you put it in that context, it takes time for healing to take place,” Anja Khoma, Anti-Trafficking Program Director of HRC Ministries explained. ” It can take a lifetime to work through the level of trauma they’ve experienced.”

The four women who are currently working through their trauma program go to the learning center (to heal) five times per week.  They put in almost 40 hours a week and the program lasts for 18 months. That might sound like a lot, but it’s nothing compared to the amount of trauma these women carry.

“Understanding that level of trauma and the amount of time it takes to work through those issues. It can take a lifetime to work through the level of trauma they’ve experienced,” Khoma added.

The goal at HRC is to restore these women, to build their self-confidence back up, and their self-worth, and to help them realize they are more than their trauma, and that this is not the end of their stories. Eventually, they get to the point where they’re discovering their gifts and working to get reintegrated back into society.

“It’s amazing to see where they’re at when they come into where they are now. There’s no better feeling,” Altmeyer explained.

HRC Ministries has plans to open a second safe hour, an advocacy center, and ultimately an emergency shelter that specializes in traffic victims.

If you or someone you know is being trafficked- there is hope.

Call Crime Check at 509-456-2233 or talk with your school counselor.

READ: Spokane woman sentenced to 23 years in prison for child sex trafficking

READ: Spokane sex trafficker to spend 20 years in federal prison