Residential program to help victims of human trafficking has plans to open at the end of July

DORCHESTER COUNTY, Md.- Mary’s Sanctuary is a place for women to call home and a place to get back on their feet. It will be the new residential program that’s slated to open this Summer.

“This is actually going to be the very first home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland that will provide long-term care for victims of human trafficking,” Julie Crain, the Executive Director of Harriett’s House, said. “Nothing has been done like this before, so we will be the only resource that’s here.”

Back in 2019, Crain opened the drop in center, Harriett’s House, for women who’ve experienced human trafficking and sexual exploitation. But she also had dreams of opening a residential program to these survivors. Now, that’s becoming a reality. “If you’ve had something in your own mind for so long and to have people come alongside of you and partner with that dream, it’s just so encouraging,” Crain said.

Women can live in this Dorchester County home full-time at no cost to them, while also providing a safe environment. The program will be 18 months long with 4 phases of care. At every phase, women will learn life skills and will be responsible for personal hygiene, taking care of their personal space, cooking meals, and more. “They will also be in a program that will help them to heal from the trauma that they have endured as victims; so we will offer them the opportunity to continue their education, to get counseling, to just better their lives so that once they go through our program they will be ready to start a new life,” Crain said.

With so much time put into this spot, community leaders said it’ll help in more ways than one. “It’s going to serve a huge need,” Bill Christopher, President of Dorchester Chamber of Commerce, said. “Human trafficking is much bigger than most people know, big here because we are on the corridor that DC, Baltimore, by corridor, so Maryland is a hot bed for it and the work that those folks are doing to provide relief and support for folks is amazing.”

Christopher said this program also reflects the importance of teamwork. “She did it, she’s a leader, but she was able to gather and gain support from both political leaders, non-political leaders,” Christopher said. “And, the community accepting it because sometimes you do things like this and the community will push back and she had none of that.This was very open in terms of wanting to provide support for her on that; so I think it speaks volumes to the folks that are here and the community that we are in that there really is a genuine desire to help people.”

Right now, the program is looking for help filling up their food pantry and they are also looking for volunteers.

There is a referral process to be a part of the program, you can find that information on their website or you can call 410-330-75-38.

Categories: Local News, Maryland