Constance Neumann, founder and executive director of Safe Haven, wants to establish the first certified group home for former victims of sex trafficking in Montana, but has less than two months to raise the $ 435,000 needed to purchase of the desired house.

Discussions with various law enforcement agencies and officials since the launch of the company nearly three years ago have led Neumann, from Kalispell, to the need to raise awareness in the community and the community. create a safe place for the liberated victims to begin their lives again.

They need a loving home environment, "Neumann said. "It's revolutionizing their lives. They go from captivity to freedom. "

Neumann said he heard about the extent of human trafficking about four years ago while listening to a radio show.

"I just burst into tears and I thought I had to do something about it," she said.

Through research and local relationships, Neumann began to look for ways to help find, until a few years ago, the ideal home for a group home.

The location of the house was not disclosed for security reasons, but Mr. Neumann specified that she was on a plot of 2 hectares and had six bedrooms and four halls bath.

The need for funding for the project prompted Neumann to create a non-profit organization called Safe Haven, establishing a board of directors and connecting with local resources, including teachers, therapists, experts in human trafficking individuals, trauma care specialists and volunteers.

The plans of the house revolve around the protection, care and rehabilitation of victims after their removal from slavery by creating a safe and structured environment in which they can begin to heal.

"They are slaves. They are treated like slaves, "said Neumann. "They would need to learn to trust again because their trust has been totally violated."

When they enter the home, accommodating up to eight girls aged 11 to 17, they join a family headed by a mother and a family man.

Therapy, says Neumann, would play a major role in the rehabilitation process, with specific plans varying from one girl to another depending on the needs and experiences evaluated.

"Girls obviously suffer from severe trauma," Neumann said. "There are a number of problems involved."

According to Neumann, in some cases, girls have been raped several times a day for years. Some have been forced to addiction as a method of control. Some were tortured.

"This is the first step to freeing them from the slave environment, but they will remain slaves to their minds and emotions," said Neumann. "It's an important part of the healing that involves breaking that captive, mental and emotional slavery mentality."

Through Safe Haven, each girl would likely attend an hour-long session with a visiting therapist each day, five days a week, with incorporated group therapy and equine therapy. Residents would also participate in raising their own food and taking care of the animals on the premises.

"These things are very basic and teach responsibility," Neumann said.

Regarding security, Mr. Neumann said that the house would be equipped with cameras and a security system, and that the parents of the house would live at home full time to provide 24-hour care on 24.

"There would not be a lot of unconditional love at the same time to help them understand borders and borders," Neumann said.

Neumann's plan for the home describes a two-year program. The girls would spend up to one year in the group home based on their progress, then move on to a foster home or home for a second year of follow-up treatment.

A three-year business plan and budget would cost about $ 150,000 in the first year, starting with two girls living at home.

According to Neumann, bringing in more would cost an extra $ 20,000 per girl. In the hope of increasing by two additional girls, the budget for the second year would be about $ 190,000.

However, first, said Neumann, she must find funding to buy the house itself.

The purchase-sale agreement between Safe Haven and the non-profit association currently occupying the house ends at the end of February. Neumann must raise $ 435,000 for the purchase of the house and pay the additional closing costs.

After talking with a number of former victims of sex trafficking, she said that she felt confident in the role that such a home would play in changing the lives of the girls who had sex with them. It hosts.

"The goal is to reintegrate them into culture to become productive young women who can make a difference," she said. "They are able to function daily without being slaves."

Now in the second week of January, designated National Month for the Prevention of Slavery and Human Trafficking, Neumann said that she prayed for what she calls "angel donors" so that they make a significant contribution to the successful completion of the project.

Whether she gets the necessary funds or not, she said, failure is not an option. Regardless of the amount of funds, he will support individual homes currently used to house and care for victims of trafficking in Montana.

"I think it's a unique opportunity to truly transform a life that has been destroyed," Neumann said. "Every human life counts. It is a group that needs to know that they are more than slaves and need freedom. "

For more information or to donate, visit https://safehavenmt.org/ or call 406-426-2680.

Journalist Mary Cloud Taylor can be contacted at 758-4459 or mtaylor@dailyinterlake.com.