Saturday, April 18, 2009

Its Open Now!

I just received word from the Hope House... 

From the Founder, 

It is with joy and excitement that I write this letter to inform you that On Eagles Wings Ministries has now opened the first faith based, no government funding, shelter for domestic minor sex trafficking victims in the US. Lack of appropriate shelter for these victims is a major problem and there are less than 50 beds available. We will be able to take up to 5 girls under the age of 18 who have been prostituted. We often get the question "does this really happen?" 
Unfortunately it happens all over the US.  Our children are for sale. 
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimate up to 300,000 of our youth are at risk of being sexually exploited each year. According to the Department of Justice, the majority of American victims of commercial sexual exploitation tend to be runaway or thrown away youth who live on the streets who become victims of prostitution. These children generally come from homes where they have been abused, or from families that have abandoned them. Other young people are recruited into prostitution through forced abduction, pressure from parents, or through deceptive agreements between parents and traffickers. Among children and teens living on the streets in the United States, involvement in commercial sex activity is a problem of epidemic proportion. Approximately 55% of street girls engage in formal prostitution. Of the girls engaged in formal prostitution, about 75% worked for a pimp. Pimp-controlled commercial sexual exploitation of children is linked to escort and massage services, private dancing, drinking and photographic clubs, major sporting and recreational events, major cultural events, conventions, and tourist destinations. About one-fifth of these children become entangled in nationally organized crime networks and are trafficked nationally. They are transported around the United States by a variety of means - cars, buses, vans, trucks or planes, and are often provided counterfeit identification to use in the event of arrest. The average age at which girls first become victims of prostitution is 12-14. It is not only the girls on streets that are affected -- for boys and transgender youth, the average age of entry into prostitution is 11-13.

The Hope House offers a safe place of seclusion, restoration and healing for domestic minor sex trafficking victims. Our program is a 3 stage process with a minimum of a one year commitment (or until their 18th birthday), with the understanding that we will not hold anyone against their will. We focus on complete restoration using biblical principals. We place strong emphasis on security, keeping the survivors safety our first priority. Each potential resident goes through an intake process to determine if they have been a victim of sex trafficking before being accepted into the program. All volunteers are given a criminal background check. Our program includes counseling, life skills, educational classes, case management, health care, recreation and spiritual mentorship.

We are committed to operating with a standard of excellence. We are committed to helping our survivors understand who they are in Christ and working with them for complete healing and restoration. We are committed to safety and security of our survivors, allowing them to achieve their goals without fear. We do not believe in an institutional type setting; we strive for a family environment and operate with House Parents. We are committed to raising awareness about sex trafficking not only within our own community, but nationwide.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

traci - this is just awesome. let us know if you can think of a way we might be helpful. love, mom