2013 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
|Founder and Executive Director Tajuan McCarty accepts the award on behalf of The WellHouse.
The Birmingham Division honors The WellHouse, a non-profit, faith-based organization established to offer support to women who are victims of human trafficking. Accepting the award is founder and Executive Director Tajuan McCarty.
In 2009, Ms. McCarty and colleague Lisa Holifield started the Samaritan Woman Ministry, a street outreach program offering assistance to women who were being forced into prostitution. After realizing the large number of women affected by human trafficking, Ms. McCarty and Ms. Holifield expanded the street program to include The WellHouse—though they had only $33 in the bank. Today, The WellHouse has grown to include four homes that provide shelter to trafficking victims. In addition to housing, the organization provides air and ground transportation so that victims can be reunited with their loved ones. Since 2011, The WellHouse has rescued or assisted more than 100 women ranging in age from 13 to 54. Of those rescued, 77 percent were Alabama natives, 22 percent were from other states, and 1 percent were foreign nationals.
To further its mission, The WellHouse operates a crisis hotline for victims and those seeking information about human trafficking. The organization also works to inform the general public about human trafficking through presentations made to community organizations, religious groups, and schools. The WellHouse also works with more than 20 law enforcement agencies through the Alabama Fusion Center, as well as with officers assigned to human trafficking task forces nationwide.