(Lakeland, FL) – On Mon., Oct. 20, The Porch Light opened its doors to the first two child sex trafficking victims who will be part of the organization’s safe home and restoration program. The children were welcomed into The Porch Light’s first home which, for the safety of the girls, is at an undisclosed location in Central Florida. The children were placed into care by community based care organizations, and the girls each have their own bedroom, bathroom and space to start a new life.
This announcement comes after the Florida Department of Children and Families asked Florida Baptist Children’s Homes (FBCH) President, Jerry Haag Ph.D., CFP®, to start a needed program for innocent girls who were no longer being treated as criminals (after the Florida Safe Harbor Act went into effect in January of 2013). Since, FBCH raised critical dollars, branded the new organization as The Porch Light, purchased and renovated the program’s first home, recruited experienced leaders and gained DCF licensure for the program.
“We would not be where we are today without our entire community coming beside us to make this opening a reality for these innocent girls,” said Haag.
This weekend in Lakeland, The Porch Light will host Shine a Light, The Porch Light Weekend. Members of the media are invited to attend the Friday night 5k, Saturday morning family festival and Saturday evening formal gala with internationally-known recording artist and former American Idol contestant, Jason Castro. Castro has also agreed to be a voice for The Porch Light by being a part of video commercials that will bring more attention to The Porch Light as well as the issue of child sex trafficking.