SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Nexstar Media Charitable Foundation announced today it will donate $5,000 to “Call to Freedom” on behalf of KELO-TV and the KELOLAND Media Group, the Nexstar Media Inc. broadcasting and digital media operations serving Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and the surrounding area. Call to Freedom provides supportive services for victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation by creating a strong network of front-line providers who offer safe housing, mental health counseling, medical assistance, chemical dependency assistance, and transportation.
Sex trafficking is the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the world. Locally, as Call to Freedom’s capacity to serve more victims in the Sioux Falls area has grown, so has the number of individuals served. For women that have been in the program longer than six months, 98 percent have remained free from being trafficked, 87 percent are employed or in school, and 73 percent have maintained sobriety from severe substance abuse or addiction.
Call to Freedom is currently expanding its services with the construction of “Marissa’s Housing Project,” a 12 unit apartment complex that is being built to support the recovery of human trafficking survivors and keeps their families together. The secure complex will offer six one-bedroom, three two-bedroom, and three three-bedroom units for survivors and their families. KELO-TV and the KELOLAND Media Group and long been associated with Call to Freedom, serving as the organization’s media partner, airing public service announcements, and assisting with fundraising.
“Call to Freedom is honored to be chosen to receive a $5,000 donation from KELOLAND TV and Nexstar,” said Becky Rasmussen, Executive Director of Call to Freedom. “These dollars will go toward our new building expansion, ‘Marissa’s Housing Project.’ The home will meet the needs of human trafficking survivors in our area who wish to receive the support of CTF during their recovery, but are also focused on healthy families. Community leaders like KELOLAND TV help combat this horrible social injustice. Together we can make an impact, and break the cycle of human trafficking.”
Commenting on the donation, Mari Ossenfort, Vice President and General Manager of KELOLAND Media Group said, “We are extremely pleased to support the mission of Call to Freedom, as Becky and her team make a difference in the lives of women, giving them hope and freedom, and now a new place to find help. Giving back to the communities served by Nexstar across the country is core to the company’s mission, and we are proud to make this donation on behalf of KELOLAND Media Group, Nexstar Media Group, and all of the company’s 13,000 employees.”
The Nexstar Media Charitable Foundation’s mission is to contribute to and work with public charities and non-profit organizations to improve the communities in which Nexstar Media and its subsidiaries do business. The foundation was originally established in 1958 and it makes donations of approximately $350,000 annually.