Sex trafficking victims rebuilding their lives with help of 'Dream Rooms'

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by Catherine Holland

GMAZ segment by Heidi Goitia

Posted on June 20, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Updated Friday, Jun 20 at 11:29 AM

PHOENIX -- Several Valley girls who are victims of human trafficking are getting news homes and a fresh starts.

The Dream Rooms are a little less than 500-square-feet each in the old Embassy Suites hotel near the intersection of Grand Avenue and Indian School Road.

The Rescue Project enlisted some of the top interior designers, architects and builders in the Valley and gave them free rein to create the rooms. What the teams came up with is simply stunning. Each fabulous room is unique.

"They end up being as nice as any home in Paradise Valley," Mark Donnelly of The Rescue Project told 3TV's Heidi Goitia.

"[The rooms] really become a metaphor for the transformation of these girls' lives -- broken lives," he explained. "These girls come in with broken lives and they're able to turn around their lives and transform them. These rooms are a key part of that."

Donnelly said many of the victims, who range in age from 14-25, were trafficked out of hotel rooms. Because the building housing The Rescue Projects facility is an old hotel, it was not a very comfortable place to these traumatized girls to stay.

"We said, 'We need to change the physical environment,'" Donnelly said. "That's where the concept for the Dream Rooms came up."

The girls and young women for whom the rooms were created love them.

"They come in absolutely shocked that somebody would do this for them, a complete stranger that just wants to see them get their lives back on track," Chrissy Connelly. "It just gives them home that there are people out there who care. It gives them an opportunity to believe their lives really can be changed."

The Rescue Project launched in 2009.

"The purpose of The Rescue Project program is to rescue, stabilize and rebuild the lives of these girls and young women by addressing the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of these uniquely resilient individuals who have been victimized and have survived human trafficking through sexual exploitation," according to the organizations website.

The first 10 Dream Rooms were remodeled and unveiled in 2012.

At an open house on Saturday, the Rescue Project will be showing off seven new rooms, all of which were designed for pregnant girls and new moms. The open house is Saturday at 10 a.m. at the old Embassy Suites Hotel at 3210 NW. Grand Avenue.

To find out more on the Rescue Project, go to www.rescueprojectphx.org.

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