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FOX 4 | Human Trafficking Victims Finding Peace through Goat Therapy

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

HARRISONVILLE, Mo. — REHOPE in Harrisonville, Missouri has some new residents. The program for victims of sex trafficking is using animal therapy to help women in recovery.

You’ve heard of goat yoga, goat parties, and all kinds of events surrounding adorable baby goats. At REHOPE Farms, little baby goats are helping survivors through the hardest times of their lives.

Tranquility after trauma. That’s what REHOPE hopes every human trafficking victim finds when they step through their doors.

“They come in broken in so many pieces and have so little self-esteem and feel unworthy.” Roxie Loyd, the executive director of programs & services for REHOPE

The nonprofit recently expanded and is moving into a new space. It allows them to house more women in need. Human trafficking has always been an issue but experts say since the pandemic started more and more women are finding themselves, victims.

“I went from being homeless eating out of dumpsters to having a room of my own. Having clothes. Having the ability to take showers. Hot meals. The animals helped me a lot,” one victim said.

She is nearing graduation and is learning trust and love in a new way. This woman was exploited from the time she was eight years old. The mother of five is finding life, love, and confidence after abuse.

“They’re happy. They’re hoppy. They’re so much fun. You could sit and watch them forever,” Loyd said.

For one woman taking care of the kids is getting her closer to being able to take care of her own kids again. She got her high school diploma during her time at REHOPE. After graduation, she plans to become certified in counseling trafficking victims and was offered a job at REHOPE itself.

“If you put a lot of trust in an animal that can easily turn on you. It taught me I can put trust into people again,” she said.

“You can see their light come on, and that happiness starts to show. You see them starting to care for these animals and nurturing them, brushing them, feeding them, milking them it’s all part of a great experience,” Loyd said.

Not only are the goats showing the women what it’s like to be loved, but they are also teaching these babies how to be loving.

“I never looked at it as teaching them love. I’ve always seen it as they love me, so it’s a new thought understanding that maybe I taught them how to love the right way,” the woman said.

While caring for a goat may seem small, sometimes it’s the little things that can change your entire perspective.

“This program saved my life. It gave me a whole new outlook. It helped me find who I am and what I’m worth,” she said.

“What are you worth?” FOX4’s Sherae Honeycutt asked.

“I’m worth the world.”

The program is currently working on its Sky’s the Limit capital campaign to help with its expansion. Currently, they are in between the second and third phases of the campaign. Their second phase included the expansion into a new building to house more women.

Their third stage, once funded, will add 10 acres to their property to add tiny houses and cabins. This will give women in their program the ability to learn to live independently while also being in a safe location.

Through REHOPE Farms, the women also learn how to make soap and tumblers. These items are sold to benefit the program and help survivors.

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