Through a partnership with House of Raeford Farms FLOCK, Lighthouse for Life is one step closer to opening its Karis Home as a safe house for young women who are victims of human trafficking.
House of Raeford Farms donated nearly $15,000 to the Lighthouse for Life Karis Home for the installation of a security system on its property. This donation will help provide a sense of safety and peace of mind for those in the house, aligning with Lighthouse for Life’s core purpose of providing a safe place for young women who are victims of human trafficking.
Chuck Underhill, FLOCK coordinator at House of Raeford’s Columbia complex, underscores the purpose of the project: “With the security system, the goal was to make sure the girls know that when they walk in, they’re safe,” Underhill said. “It’s not a safe house if they don’t feel safe.”
Human trafficking is a growing problem around the world imprisoning hundreds of thousands into coerced slavery; however, in South Carolina alone, between 1,400 and 1,500 people are trafficked every year, and the majority of them are minors under the age of 18. People are generally unaware of its near presence and growing prevalence in their communities, which is a problem that Lighthouse for Life hopes to address with their various fundraising and education efforts.
The Karis Home will be the first safe house of its kind in the midlands of South Carolina to provide a safe harbor for young women who are 13 to 17 years old and victims of human trafficking. As noted by Underhill, “When girls come to stay at the house, they can begin to establish positive and caring relationships, the likes of which they may not have previously experienced.”
Before FLOCK and Lighthouse for Life’s partnership, Underhill was personally introduced to Lighthouse for Life through their various fundraising efforts and their presence in his local community. In turn, this encouraged Underhill to approach House of Raeford Columbia Complex Manager Jim Mabe and Lighthouse for Life about a potential partnership with FLOCK. Mabe and the organization knew the partnership was a good match and decided to work together.
With any of FLOCK’s partnerships, the goal is not simply to provide for the superficial needs of an organization through a one-time donation. FLOCK works to build a longstanding two-way relationship with organizations like Lighthouse for Life so they can bring their comprehensive needs to the attention of FLOCK, who can then work with the organization to meet their needs.
“We want to establish relationships with organizations that we see are like-minded to the backbone of what FLOCK stands for,” said Mabe. “By cultivating these relationships, organizations know that if they have a need, they can bring it to our attention, and we can work with them to meet it.”