New home in Columbus for human trafficking survivors

Published: .
Updated: .

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A Columbus human trafficking survivor says she is fighting to save women who may be trapped in that lifestyle, by rehabbing a home on the south side.

It takes a lot to fix up a house but to make it a home takes something more.

"I don't want to see the women having to go back to the lifestyle from which they came," Barb Freeman said.

Freeman is the founder of The Freeman Project. Its mission is to house survivors of human trafficking who are in transition as a step over from local rehabilitation and correction facilities.

Freeman was also named the Woman of Achievement in 2014 by the YWCA.

Barb is pouring her heart into her latest project. After a home on the south side was donated to her, her community stepped in to help rehab the house to help save women from the life Freeman once knew.

"So until you can get strong enough to fight for yourself, I'm fighting for you," Freeman said.

Human trafficking survivors, like Freeman, will have a place to go and start fresh like the paint on the walls of the house on E Whittier Street.

Freeman and about 25 volunteers from the community and the local union of Painters and Allied Trades spent Saturday working on the inside and outside of the three-story home.

"I just feel like if I can make it home for them to come and get self sufficient I think that they would have a better chance on being successful," said Freeman.

Four women will get the chance to start over once the house is finished, but Freeman has plans to help more.

She says she is interested in buying an abandoned apartment complex across the street.

Freeman has been an advocate for years to educate the community and save human trafficking victims and she says she didn't where she is today all alone.

"Just taking everything that someone has given to me and I'm giving back. I'm paying it forward," Freeman said.

She says it takes a lot of heart and faith too, but Freeman says she believes she will make a change.

"He gave me the strength that I have today to be able to come out and help women and save women from the same thing he saved me from. If I can make a difference in one person's life that would mean the world to me," Freeman said.

Freeman expects renovations on the house to be finished and move in ready by August.

Each room in the house is up for adoption to help with furnishings.