BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Human trafficking is a crime that happens all across the country including here in Kern County, this month is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month where organizations and law enforcement spread information about resources that can help those who may be in a dangerous situation.
The organization is called Magdalene Hope, where they support and provide women who had been previously in a human trafficking situation with resources. Now according to Magdalene Hope, they have been able to rescue 121 women from sex trafficking situations.
“I kept looking for a way out. It seemed hopeless,” said Marrianne Jackson, a survivor of sex trafficking.
Marrianne Jackson has experienced the dangers of human trafficking first hand. She is a survivor.
“Once you get into it, it is so hard to get out of. Especially living in motels and just not having a place, you just want to quit,” said Jackson.
According to Jackson, she was sex trafficked for a shorter amount of time compared to most, after the person responsible had gone to prison for a period of time.
Jackson said, “I continued to keep doing it on my own because that was the only way I knew how to survive.”
That was until February of 2020 when Jackson discovered the organization, Magdalene Hope.
“Magdalene Hope stands for hope, hope for the hopeless,” said Dr. Doug Bennett, founder.
Dr. Doug Bennett is the founder of the organization that helps provide support and shelter to those who are in a human trafficking situation, and the importance of that is highlighted during these times.
“We have seen an increase in human trafficking during the pandemic, more men buying, and more women being sold,” said Bennett.
According to Bennett the Magdalene Hope team will go out on the streets and find women who are in some sort of human trafficking situation, in the past they would usually speak to around 20 a night. In past months, Bennett says they have been meeting more than 30.
“I mean over the course of a night you can have over 150 women being sold in Bakersfield. That is online numbers and on the street,” added Bennett.
Magdalene Hope wants the community to know that they are here to help, just like they were able to help Marrianne, who is now working towards her college degree and hopes to eventually work as a domestic violence counselor so that she can help women who have been in similar situations.
“You can do this if you really want help. Give us a call, we can help you. God can restore your life,” said Jackson.
If you are in a human trafficking situation and you need help, you can contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888.
Call (661) 808-HOPE (4673) to get in touch with Magdalene Hope.