Tucson Police Department Officer Sarah Haught’s goals are so crucial, she received the Public Service Champion award at the 2019 Women of Influence celebration while still in the process of completing them. While onstage receiving her award, she thanked her friends, family and God, and promised to continue fighting to help victims of sex trafficking.
During her more than 10 years working in law enforcement, Haught served in numerous positions: police officer, crisis intervention technician and undercover officer. But it was the year she spent working in the human trafficking unit at the Tucson Police Department that propelled her toward her current calling. She is currently in the process of starting a long-term holistic care facility for 11- to 17-year-old children rescued from sex trafficking.
“One of my biggest frustrations was not having a long-term facility to send them to for help,” Haught said. “People might not think sex trafficking happens in the United States, but it does.”
Called the Beauty from Ashes Ranch, the faith-based nonprofit organization brands itself as a “Sanctuary of Healing for Young Survivors of Sex Trafficking.” Haught is currently working towards building the first Beauty from Ashes recovery home to provide long-term holistic care.
Beyond providing a loving home environment with a variety of therapeutic programs including equine therapy, the Ranch also plans to offer college and job placement programs to help children transition into independence.
“Through my research, I’ve found the most successful rehabilitation facilities are the ones that are faith-based and rural,” Haught said. “We’ll show them what real love is, and provide them with a loving home to help them succeed.”
Haught credits her upbringing in a ranching family for the development of her strong character traits. She attended college on scholarships for soccer, track and field, and cross-country, and worked with “stubborn 4-H steers.”
“Sarah is a driven person, she’s innovative and very motivated,” said TPD coworker Monica Prieto. “She’s someone who has an incredible work ethic. She’s our criminal intelligence officer, and is able to recognize what areas we need to work on to keep crime numbers down and solve problems...When you meet her, she’ll do whatever she can to help.”
Growing up, Haught said her parents taught her a motto she’s taken and used throughout her life: “See a need and fill it.”
“Beauty from Ashes is something very big to take on, but regardless of how big or scary it might have seemed to do, Sarah has taken it on under any circumstances,” said Valerie Pinon, who attended the Women of Influence awards with Haught. “She just has a big heart for helping people.”
Prieto said she isn’t at all surprised Haught won the Public Service Champion award because, after all, she nominated her.
“I’m really thankful for this recognition and very honored,” Haught said. “Hopefully this shines a light on Beauty from Ashes and shows people I’m trustworthy and able to organize something like this.”
Still in the process of being built, Beauty from Ashes Ranch is planned to break ground late 2019 or early 2020, and is planned to be operational by 2021.
In the meantime, Haught and Beauty from Ashes Ranch are hosting a benefit gala at the JW Marriott Starr Pass (3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd.) Friday, Sept. 6 from 7 to 9 p.m.
“I had an awesome childhood, and I want to give that to them, as well.” Haught said. “I want to give them a chance to have a childhood again.”