Street Ransom was birthed out of the Straight Street ministry, which serves at-risk youth in the Roanoke Valley by helping them find healing, meeting their immediate needs, and creating a safe space where they can encounter Jesus Christ.

In 2013 an FBI agent reached out to Straight Street’s staff with a dilemma that had no simple solution. A teenage girl had been rescued from a life of trafficking. Although she was to be reunited with her family eventually, there was no suitable housing for her during this interim period other than a juvenile detention center.

Like most victims, this teen struggled with an array of emotional issues, battling shame and feelings of abandonment. Being held in a juvenile detention center, alongside criminals, would only reinforce these misguided feelings. If not provided the appropriate help after being rescued, this girl was likely to return to a life of abuse being trafficked by another perpetrator.

Straight Street’s reputation of providing excellent care for at-risk youth within their community for over 20 years made them a clear answer to the problem this young girl faced. A natural extension of their outreach, they established Street Ransom in 2014. Letters of support came from civic leaders, law enforcement and court officials, the medical community, and from U.S. Congressman Bob Goodlatte.

An educational program was developed to inform young people about the lures and traps connected with sexual exploitation, along with a public awareness effort. At the same time, a long-term goal was set to establish a shelter to help restore those who had been trapped.  Prevention and protection became the twofold vision of Street Ransom.

The name “Street Ransom” was chosen to demonstrate the organization’s commitment to Jesus Christ. “Ransom” means to free from captivity or punishment by paying a price. It’s a commitment reflected in the program’s theme verse from the Bible…

“For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve — and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

– Matthew 20:28

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