Detroit program helping human trafficking victims return to normal life

Maria breaks down in tears thinking about the three children she left behind in Mexico to earn them a better life and bring them to this country. 

She was lured to Michigan with promises of a good job by someone who turned out to be a human labor trafficker. He threatened her when she tried to leave.

Maria finally broke free after a friend, who found her a lawyer, referred her to Bethany Christian Services in Detroit.

Bethany Christian Services is an organization that helps make people who have been victims of trafficking transition to a normal life. 

"I don't care how you got here; I don't care if you're American, if you're foreign national, if you're illegal, if you're undocumented - nobody should be victimized, nobody should be exploited and if somebody's being exploited they need help," says Karen Hanks, the coordinator with Bethany Christian Services' trafficking victims program.  

"[We] do a safety assessment first ... to make sure they're safe in the moment. And then we go through and talk about what the client - what Maria - wants to do, what she wants to accomplish and where there are shortfalls and where she's secure. And then we take those needs and I work with the client to prioritize them," Karen explains.

Usually the first priority, she says, is safe housing.

"The client and I are in the middle of the center of a wheel and we have all these spokes to all these needs and the services that they need. So as we talk to the client we figure out which one of those services they need to get to."  

Bethany Christian Services also works to get the victims food, clothing, counseling, employment and even family reunification, if possible.

The organization always welcomes donations and volunteers who can help survivors transition back into society, like Maria, who is now safe, working and looking to further her life with her family.

For more information about Bethany Christian Service, visit

| National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 or Text: 233733