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WNY woman opens new drop-in center for human trafficking victims, plans to walk 902 miles to raise awareness

The FreeTHEM Center will provide programs to at-risk women and girls, as well as help survivors of human trafficking recover and start anew.
Credit: Fivetenslens

BUFFALO, N.Y. — On Thursday, a new center opened in Buffalo with the aim to help women who are at-risk or victims of human trafficking. 

Kelly Galloway first opened Project Mona's House in 2017 as a way to help women out of human trafficking. Now, she has opened a center, called The FreeTHEMCenter on Kensington Avenue, which will also support at-risk women.

The new center will have programs that help women and girls who could be or have been impacted by human trafficking, such as mental health and addiction counseling, group therapy, life skills classes, community-building activities, and workforce training, according to a press release.

Additionally, the center says it will host a Young Women's Empowerment Academy for girls ages 7 to 18. 

Currently, Project Mona's House provides shelter and help to survivors ages 18 and up in one to two-year programs. 

“Kelly Galloway is a humanitarian, committed to helping victims of human trafficking. Her work in the Buffalo community and abroad brings attention to this inhumane and criminal practice," Mayor Byron Brown said in a press release. 

"The new FreeTHEM Center will expand the reach of Project Mona’s House bringing resources to human trafficking victims and at-risk women and girls in Western New York," added Brown.

The organization also plans to host a walk from May 3 to June 19 (Juneteenth) from Lynchburg, Virginia to Buffalo. The organization says the walk will mimic the Underground Railroad and pass through several cities to highlight human trafficking as a form of modern-day slavery. 

“Human trafficking is often a silent problem that we must continue to shed light on if we are ever to fully eradicate slavery from existence," said Erie County Legislature Chair, April N.M. Baskin. "I am confident the FreeTHEM Center will continue the good work Kelly has done by empowering women and children through skill development, counseling, and addiction support services."

Groups in these cities will participate throughout the walk, but Galloway plans to walk all 902 miles herself. 

“There is a war on human trafficking, and The FreeTHEM Center, along with Project Mona’s House, is committed to winning,” said Galloway.

For more information on the walk, click here. The new drop-in center is located in the Eight Days of Hope building at 852 Kensington Avenue.