After two Oklahoma City businesses are busted during an undercover police operation, a local advocacy group works to help victims of the crimes.
Oklahoma City police have busted possible prostitution rings at two different massage parlors. Several women at one of the spas were arrested.
Dragonfly Home is committed to providing these women with the help they need to break the cycle of violence.
“[We] received complaints about prostitution. Electronic equipment [were] seized, cash was seized,” said OCPD Sgt. Dillon Quirk.
Whitney Anderson, co-founder and chief executive officer of Dragonfly Home, said in scenarios like this, people in handcuffs are often forced to have sex themselves.
“Survivors of human trafficking victims are in front of us every day, so they interact with a lot of different frontline professionals, and sometimes that can be law enforcement officials, and it can be a bit of a thorn,” Anderson said. “In my experience, people involved in the commercial sex trade have been trafficked at some point, so it wouldn’t be uncommon for people to work in a massage parlor and be trafficked.”
The difference between prostitution and sex trafficking; In the former, the individual chooses to participate alone, a trafficked person is coerced, coerced or tricked into doing so, or is under 18 years old.
Police reports do not say whether or not the five women arrested Wednesday were trafficked; But Anderson says people who are victims of human trafficking are often afraid to ask for help.
“There is a mistrust of the system. There is a mistrust of law enforcement among other frontline professionals because they don’t see what they experienced. Instead, they get punished for it,” Anderson explained.
In the six years that the Dragonfly Home has been open, they have assisted over 600 human trafficking survivors and received over 7,000 calls to their 24-hour emergency helpline.
“If people aren’t getting the intervention they need, the process continues. The cycle doesn’t break and people don’t get the help they need,” Anderson said. “It’s an honor to see people come out of such difficult situations and achieve so much.”
To learn more about Dragonfly Home and how to use their services, visit their website.
If you are a victim of human trafficking, call their hotline at (405) 212-3377 or their toll-free number (855) 674-4767.