JOPLIN, Mo. — Joplin volunteers focused on helping victims of human trafficking have a new way to keep them safe.

The Rise Coalition now has a safe house for human trafficking survivors… A secure location to make victims start to feel safe.

“You know, one of the things that was identified in Joplin is that we have this gap in services,” said Karolyn Schrage, RISE Coalition.

A secure site to help human trafficking survivors — something with very specific needs.

“When there is that individual that has been swept up in some kind of a horrific event with trafficking, a lot of times they’re just needing to get back to the safety of their family or getting out of this area, to wherever that place may be that can help them recalibrate,” she added.

The Joplin RISE Coalition now has that.

“Our landing spot, our Respite Care Center, has really just been in existence a few months. And yes, we’ve already used it several different times.”

The living unit is designed for short term use – an initial site to house a victim for 24 – 48 hours while a long term plan develops. They can also use the site as a space to work with law enforcement officers.

“Where that individual can actually get a hot shower get a hot meal, be able to sleep be able to know that there are options for them,” Schrage said.

The location is closely guarded to make sure offenders can’t find it and victims will feel safe.

“But it is a place where they can feel instantly received, where they can feel that there’s dignity, there is respect, and it’s not putting them back in a hotel situation, which is often the very place that they’ve been rescued from.”

Volunteers say the safe house is an important option for helping human trafficking survivors, because Joplin is one of the four busiest sites in the state.

Victims who stay there are get a “go-bag” with immediate necessities, everything from clothing and toiletries to a blanket and teddy bear.