Sponsored: The Spirit Of Metanoia

Metanoia is an ancient Greek word meaning “the journey of changing one's mind, heart, self and way of life.”

But in an undisclosed haven in the greater Baton Rouge area, Metanoia is also a place where healing happens for victims of human trafficking.

Metanoia Manor is a cause that captured the heart of The Picard Group’s founder, Tyron Picard, and TPG senior director of state affairs, Mike Michot. Picard and Michot have spent time in the last two weeks with the leaders of the newly opened and incredibly unique home.

In recent years, Picard and Michot have supported legislation sponsored by state Sen. Ronnie Johns (District-27) to fight human trafficking in Louisiana – a problem only recently in the forefront of awareness throughout the state, fueled by the quick access of the I-10 corridor, which connects drivers and freight between Houston and New Orleans, is the site of the largest volume of human trafficking in the nation.

Less than a year ago, Picard and Michot joined Gov. John Bel Edwards and the state’s official delegation to the Vatican to address the issue of human trafficking and tour a facility in Italy that provided much guidance for the newly opened Louisiana home for victims.

“When Mike Michot and I visited Caserta, Italy with the Sister who runs Metanoia Manor, we were moved with emotion at the plights of these women, many of whom have children who have been trapped in the life of human trafficking,” Picard said. “We were completely impressed with the Sisters. Not only do they provide these women and their children with a safe place to live, but also enable them to move forward as future wives and mothers.”

The home for adolescent girls near Baton Rouge can house up to 16 victims under the age of 21. Residents will be supervised and nurtured by the Sisters who will offer spiritual guidance through recovery.

Each girl has her own private room and bath and will call Metanoia home until she is ready to function in society again. The average age of trafficking victims is 13.

Most communities throughout Louisiana do not have the resources at a local level to help victims heal or acclimate to life after trafficking. According to sources at Metanoia, children who find refuge there are from every walk of life — including some who are abducted and others who are lured away before being transported often out of state where they are forced to perform sexual acts, sometimes as often as 20 times a day.

The road to recovery is not a fast or easy one and requires a multi-pronged approach, including spiritual nurturing along with professionals from physicians and nurses to social workers and educators.

Opened in April 2017, Metanoia is a 12,000-square foot home with Sisters from the Hospitaller Sisters of Mercy who work with victims. Father Jeff Bayhi runs Metanoia, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization who partners with the Sisters to make this home a reality.

This partnership between clergy and a non- profit is the first of its kind in the United States.

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