The organization dubbed “Mississippians Against Human Trafficking” (MAHT) was established approximately three years ago, originally in the City of Florence. It has since grown to serve the entire central Mississippi region. Their goal, according to the MAHT Facebook page, “is to make Mississippi an unhospitable environment for the crime of human trafficking and to promote victim safety and restoration.”
MAHT is currently hosting a special drive through the holiday season, and it involves an unlikely objective – the purchase and placement of trees. This is part of the much-anticipated larger goal of preparing a shelter for the youngest segment of trafficking victims - ages eighteen and under. To date, no shelter exists in Mississippi for them.
Although MAHT is hopeful for grant funding, realistically they anticipate that a lot of funding will come from donors and partners, folks who say, “I am willing to commit to x amount of years to give whatever I can give to this project…no amount is too small.”
The planting of these “screening” trees is an important and essential method of providing coverage and privacy to the one-of-a-kind facility. To participate, donors may purchase a tree in their name, in memory of, or in honor of someone else. The cost is $100 per tree.
The property in question was originally owned by another nonprofit but had remained unused. MAHT approached them, and a deal was struck. This would be the new home for young and displaced human trafficking survivors.
Renovations are not expected to be massive, however, there are certain federal codes and guidelines that must be met. The current timeline includes renovations in 2022, and doors open in 2023.
Although the tree project is the current focus of fundraising efforts, there are many ways potential donors may assist. General donations for renovations and/or operational costs are also welcome.
There are also donations that may be made to MAHT via Kroger.com or amazon.com. Participants are offered the option to donate a portion of their purchases from these organizations to a non-profit.
Stay tuned for the January issue of The Florence News that will include an in-depth look at MAHT.