Bill proposed to provide funding for nonprofits that help human-trafficking victims

RALEIGH, N.C. — Many organizations that help victims of sex trafficking recover and get back on their feet rely on donations, but Eyewitness News reporter Tina Terry found something in the works to give those groups a more reliable stream of funding.

Experts said human sex trafficking is happening throughout Charlotte.

Pat Krikorian helps rescue women trapped in the world of human trafficking.

“Every survivor that comes is stripped of everything. They need everything,” said Krikorian, who is executive director of Lily Pad Haven.

The nonprofit has spent thousands in donations bringing in 73 survivors from all over the United States, including North Carolina, which she said ranks eighth in the nation for sex trafficking.

“There's not a lot of government grants out there for victims of human tracking,” Krikorian said.

North Carolina lawmakers in the House and Senate hope to change that. This week, they're backing legislation that would provide $1.5 million to be used for grants to organizations that rescue women to give them a place to live.

Rep. Bill Brawley, R-Mecklenburg, said the funding is vital.

“If you've ever met people who've been trafficked, you realize what great evil this is and it's happening right beneath us,” Brawley said. “It's happening right in front of us every day in Mecklenburg County and we're not even aware.”

The bill that would provide that funding is headed to the governor's desk.

Brawley said if it passes, nonprofits would have to apply to receive the funding in grants.