CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – A local nonprofit organization is opening a coffee shop that will employ area sex trafficking survivors.
“I never thought I’d be where I’m at right now. Like, I never thought that I would be you know, on my way to independence and being able to have a job and buy a car. And, you know, work towards getting my own place, it gets better,” said a survivor.
We are not sharing this survivor’s identity for her safety.
Peace Promise was established in 2008. It’s a nonprofit that helps those like her, who have been exploited in the commercial sex industry in Central Pennsylvania.
“Our goal would be that they get to go on to the careers, the dreams that they had when they were four or five, six years old that were stolen from them,” said Peace Promise Executive Director Patty Seaman.
Without this organization, the survivor we talked to said she would be: “Probably stuck in a very abusive relationship, honestly, I think that I probably wouldn’t be here.”
Peace Promise helps survivors finish school, along with teaching them life skills, cooking skills, getting a job and much more.
The new coffee shop is opening in Camp Hill.
“Everything that typically would disqualify them in a traditional job setting are actually the things that are going to qualify them more to work for us. So those criminal backgrounds, that’s not an obstacle for us. That lack of education, that’s not an obstacle…because we’re offering them more than just a job, we’re offering them an employment experience where they’re going to be equipped for life,” said Seaman.
Peace Promise is partnering with ‘Good Ground Coffee Company’ which was started by two Pennsylvania natives who dreamed of helping women and opening a coffee shop.
“Walking in to seeing construction start, it just has felt like just like the greatest day,” said Good Ground Coffee Company co-founder Rachel Ferrence.
“And I think it’s a greater feeling when it’s not just a coffee shop to us. We know what this represents to our survivors. We know that there are people whose lives are going to be drastically changed by this and have opportunities available to them that they wouldn’t,” said Peace Promise marketing and communications director Brooke Dunbar-Treadwell.
The goal is to open the coffee shop by early 2024.