Ked Frank heard about an outreach in his city that would visit strip clubs weekly. At first, he questioned it, but when he finally had the chance to meet the people involved, his life moving forward was transformed.
"I'd never heard of church people visiting strip clubs. I wasn't sure how I felt when I first heard about it," said Ked Frank, founder and president of Refuge for Women. "Once I saw them in action, I started to realize, if you're not going to go there, then how do you expect to get into conversations and let them know that there are opportunities for something more."
Once a week, 100 women would take meals to five strip clubs in Lexington, Kentucky and speak with the ladies. Ked and his wife, Michelle, quickly got involved but realized something was missing.
"They needed a place to go for people who wanted to get out," said Ked. My best friend bought a 50-acre farm, and it had an old farmhouse on it. We felt the Lord wanted us to rehab that 100-year-old farmhouse, so we renovated it. I stepped out of what I was doing. We formed a nonprofit, and the rest is history."
Refuge for Women has now grown to 11 houses across the United States. They provide specialized long-term and emergency housing for women who have escaped human trafficking or sexual exploitation.
"We provide a free place for women to go who, for the longest time, have felt very much like objects, have low self-worth, have been beaten down and need a place to go."
Ked says it can be scary for these women to step into their organization.
"It's very intimidating because for people who have been hurt or have been around a lot of people that always have ulterior motives or are wanting something from them, the idea of unconditional love is a little bit too good to be true."
The team at Refuge for Women works to build trust with the ladies, and once they realize there is life different than the one they're in, Ked says you can see true transformation.
"Nobody dreams to grow up and work in prostitution," said Ked. "Our hope is that we can tap back into, what did you want to do when you were a little girl growing up? And, how can we come alongside and help you do that?"
After the women have found healing, Refuge for Women also equips the ladies with the tools, training, and support to achieve and maintain a healthy, well-rounded life. Tools and training include computer education, preparing a resume, participating in mock interviews, exploring careers through internships, and receiving job placement assistance. Also, the residents are assisted with setting personal goals in the areas of higher education, financial planning, and personal growth.
Today on Connections, Ked shares the inspiration behind this organization and the impact it has had on the community.