Bees help sex trafficking survivors heal and rebuild

Bees help sex trafficking survivors heal and rebuild
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

COLLIERVILLE, TN (WMC) - A local organization is helping women who have survived trafficking and prostitution in Shelby County and beyond.

Thistle and Bee exists to support women as they rebuild their lives.

The hives are located all over the city, but it's a fitting spot in Collierville.

Nestled in the middle of a field at the Baptist Memorial Hospital are three beehives. Their keepers are healing from their past.

"We have a saying that we say at Thistle and Bee, and that's that love and bees heal," said Jordan Boss, Executive Director of Thistle and Bee.

These beekeepers are former prostitutes and victims of sex trafficking.

It's their next chapter in life learning to not only care for the bees but also earn a living wage manufacturing and selling the honey and honey-drizzled granola at local stores like the Curb Market and High Point Grocery.

"I would say that the women that we serve have never had a normal life," Boss said. "So when they come to us they really are ready to experience something different from what they've experienced thus far in life."

In Thistle and Bee's first year, the nonprofit has helped seven women rebuild their lives.

The hives and the beekeepers catch the attention of hospital visitors as they pull onto the hospital's property.

"When we introduced to Thistle and Bee we knew that their mission aligned perfectly with ours because they have a holistic approach to not only financially assisting these women but spiritually and emotionally helping with their healing," said Lindsay Stencel, Chief Administrative Officer of Baptist Memorial Hospital.

Just as these female bees work together in the hive to thrive, these survivors too work together as they rebuild their lives.

"The growth that we've seen in a year's time has just been overwhelming," Boss said. "We've seen them grow both emotionally, spiritually."

You can buy the granola and honey created by these women at several different local stores, including Muddy's Bake Shop, starting in September.

Click here to visit Thistle and Bee's website to learn more.

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