Let’s gratefully applaud and appreciate the tremendous contribution that Her Song has made to Jacksonville by opening its first safe house for trafficked women.

 

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The safe house — which will have women from ages 23 to 26 as residents — opened last month.

This is a huge step forward in helping local women who have been victims of human trafficking, because the safe house will allow them to dramatically transform and improve their lives.

So many of these women have been abused by despicable traffickers who use violence and drugs to keep their victims entrapped in terrifying lives.

And, too often, these women don’t have much ability to flee their circumstances and find places that can genuinely provide them with safety.

We are not talking about a small number of women.

Florida is third in the nation for human trafficking.

And out of America’s 100 biggest cities, Jacksonville ranks 42nd in volume of human trafficking cases.

Last year alone, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office rescued 44 local victims from human trafficking — 10 of whom were children.

This is a shameful and ugly reality in our city.

We need to begin taking meaningful, sustainable action to change it. The safe house opened by Her Song is one step on that path of change.

SUCCESSFUL CLOTHING DRIVE

Cheers to the Ponte Vedra Beach office of Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty for carrying out a successful winter clothing drive to help the local homeless population.

During the drive, the office employees donated huge numbers of winter clothing items, including:

• Jackets.

• Coats.

• Jeans.

• Boots.

• Scarves.

• Socks.

• Turtlenecks.

The office employees also collected $150 for Mission House, a Jacksonville Beach nonprofit that provides services to the Beaches’ homeless population.