WellHouse Works to Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking

Ashley Anderson of The WellHouse

A representative of The WellHouse was at the Jefferson County Commission meeting today to shed light on the problem of human trafficking.

“Sadly, I-20 is one of the main thoroughfares for human trafficking,” said Ashley Anderson, development director of The WellHouse. “Unfortunately, 40 percent of human trafficking in the United States is right here in our own backdoor in the Southeast.”

The WellHouse’s aim is to rescue and restore victims of human trafficking. The development director said WellHouse rescued nearly 70 victims in 2016, and three of them were children.

“We have the perfect storm,” Anderson continued. “We have I-20, 65, 459 and I-59. And while it’s difficult for us to get around in the morning, it is prime for traffickers.”

The commission meeting today was largely a consent agenda, which included a $2,500 gift from the discretionary fund of Commissioner David Carrington. Commissioners Sandra Little Brown and Joe Knight also said they will provide gifts to the program at an upcoming commission meeting.

Anderson said they are just a pin prick in the problem, adding that the victims they serve are from Birmingham and well beyond.

“Our victims we help serve are in our back yard,” she said. “They’re our sisters. They’re our moms. They are our daughters that are being trafficked.”

Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown greets Donna Williams-Dunbar and Principal Dr. E. Nzeocha along with Phillips Academy students who attended the commission meeting May 18, 2017, to lead the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.