GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - There has never been a home where sex trafficked boys can recover in the entire United States. One local non-profit says they're going to change that.
According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, one in three runaways are approached by a sex trafficker within the first 48 hours in NC. Experts also say our state ranks in the top ten states for sex trafficking nationwide.
Restore One, a non-profit based out of Greenville, specializes in helping those who have been sex trafficked. They say boys are sex trafficked just as often as girls.
Anna Smith, Co-Founder of Restore One, said some of the boys are forced to perform sex acts with "two, to as many as fifteen men a night." Smith said their pimps net up to $8 thousand dollars a night as a result. "Life for [the boys] is living hell."
Smith said the people buying these services may be closer than you think. "The majority of buyers for these boys are white, middle class, to wealthy men. Most of them who are married and have families."
Since the inception of Restore One in 2012, it's been a dream of Smith and her team to construct a home for boys who escape the illegal business of sex trafficking. After years of fundraising and planning, their dream is coming to fruition. It will be called the Anchor House. "This is so exciting. Anchor House will be the first in the nation to provide holistic, trauma center care to boys ages 12 to 18 who've been sex trafficked," said Smith.
While the location of the home is being kept secret to protect the victims, Smith did say it will be in Pitt County. But that doesn't mean they'll only welcome boys from Pitt County. "We may not service a boy who's trafficked out of Pitt County, just for safety reasons. Because the pimps who are exploiting them and using them to make money, they definitely don't want them to get out of the life," she said.
The boys will go through a 12 to 15 month program. "We are hoping that after a child comes through our program they will be in a new place to start out life, again, fresh and new," said Smith.
Restore One will break ground on the Anchor House in March, with a completion date sometime in 2014. This is only phase one of their plan. They hope to triple the size of the home in the future.
So far, Restore One has raised about $140,000 dollars towards the project.