When Sister Rose Ann Barman gave a seminar on sex trafficking to community members in Colorado Springs in 2014, one of the people in attendence asked, “‘Well, what are we going to do about this?’” The Benedictine nun at Benet Hill Monastery wanted to do more than raise awareness; she wanted to provide support for survivors.
Eight years later, Barman partnered with Liz Kosofsky to open Bakhita Mountain House, a non-denominational home, which will be one of the few places in Colorado for adult women who are victims of sex trafficking.
Human traffickers compel victims to participate in labor or commecial sex. While exact numbers are difficult to calculate, the National Human Trafficking Hotline recorded over 10,000 cases in the United States in 2020 (the last year for which data is available). Colorado had 137 reported cases that year, making it among the top 20 states with the highest number of reported cases. A majority of those cases were for sex trafficking.
The Bakhita Mountain House is a two-year program where the six female participants will determine what resources they most need to recover.
The goal is to give the women a place for healing, said Kosofsky, program director for Bakhita. “What we’re hoping to offer at Bakhita is a place for people to stop and take a deep breath. To reflect and to look at what they want. Not, ‘What needs to happen right now?’ but, ‘What do I see for myself moving forward?’”Colorado, National Human Trafficking Hotline