Florida ranks as the third highest sex trafficked state in the United States. Thousands of young women are held captive through sex trafficking, and Hepzibah House, founded by Becky Dymond, is working hard to rescue and free these girls from their bondage. This month Hepzibah House will be hosting their annual Barn Dance BBQ Dinner and silent auction at the Journey Church East Campus in Boynton Beach on Friday, March 20, featuring a live band and square dance caller. Through this, they hope to earn money to rescue girls from bondage and to fund a home for their recovery and restoration.
There are currently twenty-five strip clubs in Palm Beach County and about thirty women in each strip club. Outside of strip clubs, 3500 women suffer from sex trafficking and 90 percent of these women belong to a pimp, gang or mafia. These women are vulnerable and when a man approaches them claiming that he loves them and that they are beautiful, they follow him. Unfortunately, these women soon discover that the men are truly only after one thing – to make a profit.
Victims come from everywhere, but sadly 49 percent were abused as a child and 57 percent were sexually abused. If given the choice, 80 percent of women would leave this lifestyle. Where would they go? Who would even want to help restore them financially and emotionally. That’s where Hepzibah House comes in.
Plans for a safe house
Palm Beach County counselor, Becky Dymond, felt God tugging her heart in the direction of these girls and rolled up her sleeves. She recalls standing by her kitchen window, looking out and telling God that she did not know how she was going to manage financially, but she had full trust in God’s plans for her. Her current goal is to acquire a safe home to house girls who need to recover from the traumas that they have endured. Her ideal safe home would start out with four to five beds and a house mom to be with the girls twenty-four hours a day. The safe home capacity would be six girls total. Dymond’s plan would be to have three girls move in, and once these three have healed and matured, another three would be brought in. This way, the previous three can act as big sisters to the new girls and help them in the healing process. Once the first three are ready to live on their own, three new girls will come in. In this cycle, there will always be three girls to help and encourage three new girls. Finding a safe home can be a difficult process because they must first make sure it meets all of the requirements of the county. Dymond explained that God requires you to step on water and trust Him fully. She knows that he will provide the finances needed in order to sustain a safe house.
Current services for rescued women
At the moment, Hepzibah House has enough money to maintain a safe home for six months. In the mean time, she continues to provide ways to help girls, such as mental health counseling, career counseling, educational opportunities, a therapeutic team and many other services. Though these services are helpful for girls, some deal with obstacles that make it nearly impossible to receive help from Hepzibah House. One specific girl Dymond mentioned had no transportation to drive to the therapy sessions. She had to take the bus to arrive at these sessions; however, she had no money to pay for bus fare. If she lived in the safe home, therapy could have started already. Dymond said that having a safe home would make 110 percent difference in making an impact on the girls’ lives.
One way to help Hepzibah House care for the victims of sex trafficking is by attending their annual Barn Dance. Everybody is welcome at this fund family event. It will take place at Journey Church East Compus, located at 715 S. Federal Hwy. in Boynton Beach, and the cost is either $100 a person or $250 a family. There will be a catered BBQ dinner and a live band with square dancing, popcorn, an auction and many shared stories. Money raised from this barn dance will go toward building the safe house and providing residential treatment to allow the survivors to heal and move forward. It will be a night filled with family fun, food and dancing. Purchase tickets at www.hepzibahhouse.org.
Kaylee Greene is a home school student and Good News intern. She can be reached at [email protected].