More than 500 guests join A Safe Place for fundraising luncheon

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington organization is continuing its mission to help survivors of sex trafficking.

More than 500 guests joined A Safe Place members and staff for a memorial to a former member and a panel discussion with current A Safe Place survivors over lunch on Thursday.

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Malisa Umstead, the group’s founder and executive director, and Nicole Fairfax, the sister of the member being remembered, agree that a safe place has come a long way since its founding.

“It started with just wanting to help somebody else,” Umstead explained. “It’s grown to be bigger than what I could ever have imagined and it’s great. The women in the program are great, our staff is great and we continue to expand to meet the services of the girls who are being identified in our area.”

“They’ve been there for her,” Fairfax said. “They have love for her like they’re blood related family and then the dedication luncheon today and the plaque on the building. They’re just family to her.”

Umstead said raising awareness is one of the ways we can help put an end to the problem.