MADERA, California (KGPE) — A Madera non-profit is currently in the process of converting a building into a transitional home for women who have been victimized by sex trafficking.
The Olive Foundation, founded by Madera Police Lt. Dan Foss, was gifted the building by an anonymous donor. There’s already $55,000 that’s been raised to renovate it into a home, but there’s still a little more needed.
Walking through the building, you could tell Foss already knows the floor plan by heart.
“This room here will be a fitness room,” he said pointing at one room. “This in here is going to be the laundry room.”
Fresno design firm The Earth Builders is helping with the renovations as well. To finish the project, Olive has created a GoFundMe campaign to raise $15,000, which you can find by clicking here.
The idea for this came to Foss early on in his 17-year career in law enforcement. After seeing so many sex trafficking victims while on patrol, he realized there isn’t much help for them in the immediate area.
“That was a loophole in our system. There was no easy or readily-made system available for them to escape from that life,” Foss said.
What makes trafficking victims so elusive is they are always on the move, according to Foss. Also, social media has made it much easier for them to be exploited.
“At any minute, there are at least hundreds — if not thousands of girls — readily available,” Foss said.
Madera County’s most recent sex trafficking arrest is a prime example. The Madera County Sheriff’s Office said suspect Dylan Dobbs used social media to find and traffic his victims.
In its current design, Foss said the home will be able to house five women at a time. He knows it won’t solve the overall issue, but, it’s a start.
“We can reduce the impact on our communities. We can save some girls stuck in this,” he said.
To stay up-to-date on Olive’s efforts or need their help, you can follow them on their Facebook page. You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some other sex trafficking resources available in the Central Valley:
- Central Valley Against Human Trafficking (serves Merced County all the way south to Kern County)
- Breaking the Chains
- Tulare County Human Trafficking Task Force
- Valley Crisis Center