‘They should always have wellness checks’: Residents react after a woman is sex trafficked in homeless group home

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 11:25 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Gainesville Police detectives are investigating the case, where they say a woman was held captive at a “Safe Hands” group home, for two weeks.

GPD officers said they believe the victim was staying there in an effort to get her life back on track.

“I’ve lived here forever and it’s always been safe,” said Sandy Smith who lives nearby. “I talk to my neighbors, kids ride up and down the streets all the time. I can’t even imagine that.”

The executive director of GRACE Marketplace, Jon DeCarmine, told TV20, the sex trafficking victim never stayed at their facility before settling at the group home.

RELATED: Two men arrested for holding a woman hostage at Gainesville group home

Residents who live nearby said staff from homeless shelters should take the extra effort in managing those in need.

“I feel as if they should have some type of home care,” shared resident Bryanna McDaniel. “Where people come there and check up on the facility, and see how everything is being ran in the inside.”

McDaniel said homeless people, like the victim would’ve benefited from extra attention.

“Always have wellness checks. Always have that so that you could make sure that the women or the men are getting taken care of,” stated McDaniel.

According to public records, the registered agent for “Safe Hands” is “Legal Inc corporate services. Safe Hands filed paperwork to close the business on September 23rd.

Residents hope detectives will seek answers in the investigation and urge facilities like these to focus more on the people in need and help them find a better future.

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