EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- Sex trafficking is a very real problem in Eugene and Hope Ranch Ministries aims to soon extend their services for local victims.
Hope Ranch Ministries was started a couple years ago and the group is focused on bringing safety, healing and hope to victims of sex trafficking and other intensive sexual trauma.
Sex trafficking often goes unnoticed, but it’s a very real problem in the United States and it’s prevalent in Oregon. An Albany man was arraigned at Eugene’s Federal courthouse Tuesday, facing charges involving the sex trafficking of two Eugene minors. Steven Anthony Kidd has been on a Federal hold at the Lane County Jail since late December. He pleaded not guilty the charges of sex trafficking a minor and interstate transportation of a minor with the intent of prostitution. The maximum sentence for both charges is life in prison and he'll be back in court in March.
Hope Ranch Ministries already provides local victims of sex trafficking with services and any help they can in finding a safe place to stay, but they want to be able to provide more help for the many victims in our community.
The group recently received a large sum of money from a partner agency named Called to Rescue, a worldwide non-profit based in Vancouver, Washington. They're dedicated to saving children from sex trafficking and other abusive situations.
The donation is a huge step in the right direction for the project, but there's still a way to go before it becomes a reality.
"What we have to prove is that we can pay our mortgage. We're thinking of fundraisers to do that,” says Kylee Dawson, a volunteer for Hope Ranch Ministries. “I think we're going to ask churches to donate, you know, $50 a month, $5 a month. Anything anyone can do. We'll take anything because it's such a need."
Diana Janz, founder of Hope Ranch Ministries, says the safe house will provide more than just safety. It will provide love and comfort.
"What this safe house provides is, first of all, it's a place of love. It's a home, it's not a house,” says Janz. “I'm just reminded of a young girl: she was just seventeen years old and she was sitting in my car in a fetal position, crying and saying, All I ever wanted was a family. All I ever wanted was love.'"
The house will be a transition for victims of sexual trauma, and would likely serve six to eight women over the age of eighteen. Hope Ranch Ministries plans to provide the women with services like education and job training so they can eventually live happy, healthy and independent lives.
Though Hope Ranch Ministries has received some help toward a down payment on a safe house, they're still in need of funds before they can actually purchase a house. If you'd like to help, you can visit their website here.