What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is modern day slavery. While the definition of this global issue is ever changing and expanding, most agree that “Traffickers”, driven by money, “use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation.” (U.S. Department of Homeland Security). While human trafficking refers to both labor and sex trafficking, StAtUSA focuses its efforts and resources on sex trafficking issues, helping survivors and those at risk of becoming victims.
Who is at risk?
Sex trafficking does not discriminate. It targets people from all age groups, countries, genders, socioeconomic standings, religions, and races. The core of this issue does not lie in who one is, but whether they are vulnerable in some way. On rare occasions traffickers kidnap their victims and hold them against their will. However, research has shown that sex trafficking most often feeds off of people who are hurting or in need of some kind of help. Traffickers exploit vulnerabilities such as homelessness, low self-esteem, a poor home life, previous abuse, or just a longing to be loved. This allows them to lure victims into commercial sexul exploitation using fraudulent promises of needs fulfillment or coercion rather than physical restraint and captivity. This psychological approach makes it more difficult for people to consider themselves “victims” and for observers to identify them as victims even when they are standing right in front of them.
How does sex trafficking impact a victim?
Sex trafficking affects every facet of a victims mind, body, and soul. Because sexual exploitation profoundly impacts a victim physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually, StATUSA is committed to a holistic approach to helping survivors heal.
Could sex trafficking be happening in your local community?
YES! More than likely it is. This is not a problem that happens only in large U.S. cities. It is happening in small towns and rural areas as well. At least 100,000 minors are estimated to be commercially sexually exploited in the U.S. annually and about 300,000 additional youth are at risk of becoming victims. The average age for first time commercial sexual exploitation is 12-14. Most experts believe that these total numbers are low and the numbers do not include victims age 18 and over.
THREE DIMENSIONAL PROGRAM
Dimension 1: Stop it before it starts!
Community Collaboration Program:
Communities must work together to stop the early sexual exploitation of children in the U.S. because the damage it inflicts on children is often the starting point for sex trafficking. There are several other social issues that lead to sex trafficking. So, building healthy, educated communities equipped to address specific issues that make people vulnerable to trafficking is crucial. StATUSA’s Community Development Coalitions are designed to bring churches and other community organizations together to collaborate and coordinate efforts and to utilize existing synergies.
Dimension 2: Help Survivors heal.
StATUSA’s Survivor Programs are designed to support women survivors from the time they are identified all the way through their transition into a supporting community where they can pursue happier and healthier lives. These programs focus on helping survivors build healthy skills, explore their career ambitions, work toward their educational goals, receive trauma-informed counseling, and explore new activities that bring joy into their lives.
Dimension 3: Long-term support.
Community Support & Follow-up Programs:
Healing is a life-long challenge. After survivors complete their individualized care programs, they require continued community support in order to succeed. They need friends, families, and entire communities to reinforce previous work and support their continued progress. Haven Communities are trained by StATUSA to be there by providing unconditional love, community resources, encouragement, and accountability to insure success.