The entrance of Butterfly Cottage, which will begin housing survivors of human trafficking in November.

The entrance of Butterfly Cottage, which will begin housing survivors of human trafficking in November.

A new cottage in rural Moore County will soon serve as a transitional shelter for survivors of human trafficking and sexual assault.

The three-bedroom Butterfly Cottage is operated by the Carthage nonprofit Friend to Friend. Anne Friesen, executive director of the organization, said the facility will give victims a “quiet place to recover and heal” from traumatic experiences.

“It will be a place where survivors can reflect, get counseling and connect with resources and support depending on their goals,” she said. “They’re not going to have to deal with the triggering sounds that a large, group-living sometimes creates.”

Friend to Friend built the cottage as an alternative for clients who may not yet feel comfortable sleeping and eating among fellow survivors at Serenity House, the nonprofit’s primary shelter. Parents are allowed to stay with their children at both facilities, but Friesen said the cottage will mainly be used only by adults.

“Having kids running around is wonderful and creates positive energy, but it may not be ideal for somebody who is in the early stages of trying to recuperate from trauma,” she said. “The space itself is simple, but it’s a soothing, quiet space with a kitchen, rocking chairs and really nice linens. We’re out in the country so there’s solitude. It’s a safe refuge.”

Friesen said residents of Serenity House can visit the cottage, the location of which is being withheld by The Pilot, to speak privately with counselors and participate in support groups. The facility can also be used as a quarantine area for clients who have been exposed to contagious illnesses like COVID-19 and swine flu.

Construction of the $350,000 cottage began in May following a groundbreaking that was attended by District Attorney Mike Hardin and other county officials. Friesen said the project’s major donors will be invited to tour the facility later this month.

“It really is the home that the community built,” she said. “It was amazing seeing how many people wanted to support this effort. We’re so grateful to Moore County for being so generous in their spirit.”

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