Local business helps human trafficking victims start new lives

HAMPTON, Va (WAVY) — It is the season of giving, and sometimes it is the small gifts that make the biggest difference. A local business owner is helping survivors of human trafficking start new lives.

Smoothie Stop owner Kim Taylor is buying business licenses for six survivors of human trafficking. The women have dreams of opening different types of businesses from cupcake maker, to foreign language interpreter.

Taylor was blown away by the stories of the women including, Olivia Reposa.

“I was just a piece of property, to somebody I was just something that he could take advantage of,” Reposa said.

Alynna Edouard, another survivor, told us, “It made me very shameful. You feel disgusting.”

The women escaped the nightmare of their former lives with dreams of becoming business owners. Finding work is often difficult for survivors, many of whom often have criminal records.

Taylor’s gift to them is not a huge monetary donation, about $50 a pop, but it means the world to the women receiving them.

“I’m excited, God has been very good to me,” Edouard said.

“For them to even care enough to offer it to us means so much it really does,” Reposa said.

It means they have support, and hope of building their own healthy lives and businesses.

Taylor teamed up with Survivor Ventures to make her donation. The local nonprofit focuses on job opportunities for human trafficking survivors.