Greenville café back up and running to help stop sex trafficking

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- Domestic violence and sex trafficking cases have grown exponentially in the pandemic.

For Beth Messick, she says this is a really hard reality to face.

“The most difficult thing was the increase of applications for residency,” Messick said.

As the Executive Director of Jasmine Road, a two-year residential program for sex trafficking survivors, she’s seen the impact the pandemic has had on the number of cases first hand.

“We’ve had over 100 applications since we opened just over two years ago and just because COVID hit, traffickers don’t take a vacation,” Messick said.

The reason why, attorney Jason Carpenter explains.

“Abusers are people who need control and want to control something,” Carpenter said. “In this day in age where lockdowns are possible again, and out of control with just everything in their lives, we have seen a lot of people that are abusive.”

Add to that, Jasmine Road had to shut the doors of their Café, Jasmine Kitchen, for eight months.

“We really put a lot into opening Jasmine Kitchen and we opened in February and we had to close pretty soon after that, about a month and a half after that,” Messick said.

An added burden, since Jasmine Kitchen employs women who are part of the residency and the profits made go back to fund the program.

However, there is good news.

Jasmine Kitchen was able to reopen just this week.

That means they’re back on track to saving more lives.

Messick explains, “Every purchase at Jasmine Kitchen helps a woman get her life back and so to be able to invite our community back into jasmine kitchen has been huge for us.”

Messick says they are always open to applications.

If you or someone you know needs help and want to get connected to Jasmine Road, click here.

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