Effort underway to open shelter in N.H. for victims of human trafficking
By RAY DUCKLER
Published: 3/2/2019 7:54:55 PM
Bethany Cottrell laments the fact that victims of sex trafficking in New Hampshire have few places to turn in their own state.
That dearth will soon change, the executive director of the Merrimack County Advocacy Center said. Last year, Cottrell approached Becky Ayling, the project director for the New Hampshire Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force, then later consulted with Eric Adams of the Laconia Police Department.
The result is a fundraising drive currently underway, with a vision to buy land and a building somewhere in Laconia to house the state’s first shelter and treatment facility for victims of human trafficking. It will be named Brigid’s House of Hope, after St. Brigid of Ireland, who was born into slavery in the fifth century and became one of the most revered women in the country.
“I went to Becky and said, ‘I keep hearing we need safe housing,’ ” Cottrell, also a member of the human trafficking task force, said by phone from her office in Concord. Cottrell and Ayling decided to stop talking about it and do something to tackle it themselves. Then they approached Adams.
Cottrell said the fundraising is in its early stages, adding that it will take between $300,000 and $400,00o to get the project off the ground. But while collecting enough money to turn this into a reality is far off, Ayling and Cottrell are bursting with confidence, sure that their goals will be met.