“It is my privilege to play a part in combating the atrocity of human trafficking. The cycle that these young victims often find themselves in provides little hope for a normal existence. The collaborative efforts of law enforcement, prosecutors, and community-based organizations shed light on this crisis and seek justice for its victims. Courage House breaks the cycle and gives victims an opportunity for a future. They are an effective and indispensable partner in this fight.”
—Sacramento County Sheriff Scott R. Jones
“The rate of recidivism is exceptionally high relative to young victims of domestic sex trafficking. This return to the streets occurs because the girls often have nowhere else to go and were initially runaways from abusive situations. Courage House gives them hope, a place to recover and realize the true meaning of “home.” Courage House gives those of us in law enforcement hope for recovery of those we rescue and optimism they won’t return to life on the streets.”
—Supervisory Special Agent Mike Rayfield, Violent Crimes Squad, FBI Sacramento
“I have had the privilege of working with Jenny Williamson to combat sex trafficking in the Sacramento region for well over a year. I am inspired by her seemingly boundless energy and her passion to rescue the young victims of sex trafficking who are often forgotten by society. Her ability to rally support—not only for Courage House, but also for anti-trafficking efforts at every level—is truly remarkable. In a Congressional hearing last year, every single one of the thirteen witnesses testified that the key to getting girls away from traffickers is providing safe housing with comprehensive services. Jenny is exactly on target in her approach and I commend her and her visionary team for their diligence in building Courage House. I am honored to celebrate the opening of Courage House as a refuge for vulnerable women and children who have been exposed to unspeakable exploitation. Thank you Courage Worldwide for giving hands and feet to your vision!”
—U.S. Congressman Dan Lungren
“The opening of Courage House will provide young women with a sanctuary from predators who would take advantage of them, give them the resources to escape the streets and provide an atmosphere of compassion and support. I encourage others to replicate this model as we continue the fight to apprehend perpetrators of sex crimes, and help these vulnerable young women get off of the streets and out of harm’s way.”
—U.S. Congresswoman Doris O. Matsui
“As a fellow abolitionist, it is my privilege to join hands with Jenny and Courage Worldwide. Many people do not realize that sex trafficking is happening in the United States. I’m honored to help shine a spotlight on the problem and give people a chance to be a part of the solution. This is going to be a powerful event.”
—Natalie Grant, award-winning Christian recording artist
“I am extremely excited to partner with Courage Worldwide to help raise awareness about the Courage House. We as a nation are guilty of thinking that human trafficking is only a issue in third world nations, but it’s not. It’s right here in our backyard. Courage House is a forerunner for the growing issue of domestic human trafficking and I am honored to help them in any way I can.”
—Phillip LaRue, Christian recording artist
“Jenny and her tireless team see the human being that has been brutally exploited, and set about to nourish her young soul back into health and possibility. They give a girl a chance to make the courageous choice to run away from her trafficker, because there will be a loving circle of arms to fall into. Statistics are pretty brutal when it comes to victims who have managed to escape their traffickers: without strong institutional help and support, there is a very strong chance they will be retrafficked within days. Courage Worldwide has rightly focused on the most dire need: the individual nurturing of these young people back to health and self-belief, using love as the mightiest tool of all to vanquish the evil they have experienced. They are quite literally saving young lives, lifting them back up to the light.
Courage Worldwide is at the forefront of what I hope one day will be a ubiquitous national and international movement, that of capacity-building to receive the incredibly needy and under served population of youth and adults who have been the victims of human trafficking. What places them so ahead of the curve is their understanding that our own kids who are bought and sold into commercial sexual exploitation are trafficking victims, while many others still see them through the archaic and judgmental lens that determines them to be “child prostitutes,” somehow responsible for the horrendous existence they find themselves in, before they have even been deemed to be capable of voting, drinking, or even consenting to sexual relations. Anyone who has spent any time talking with a minor who has been out of ‘the life’ for a while will immediately understand that their life circumstances were generally such that the concept of ‘lifestyle choice’ is impossible to levy upon them.”
—Mira Sorvino, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Goodwill Ambassador to Combat Human Trafficking
“The Juvenile Court welcomes the opening of Courage House. Sacramento County has the reputation of being at the crossroads of the child sex trafficking business, and yet had no home to care for its victims. The Juvenile Court is often faced with how best to rehabilitate a child who is both a victim of sex trafficking and yet, under the law, is also considered an offender by virtue of engaging in an act of prostitution. These children present a challenge in that they have complex therapeutic needs combined with a high flight risk. Incarceration, sending the child out of state or release back home, which routinely resulted in the child returning to the street, were the only options. Courage House is a unique and specially designed program for our victims. It offers a combination of a safe home, specialized treatment, education and training, and most important of all, the promise of a future free from the past. Courage House is truly an opportunity for these children to chart a new course and to find the courage to be the person they were meant to be. Congratulations to Jenny and the Courage House team of volunteers, and to the faith community that reached out and embraced a group of children whose needs go unseen under the cover of darkness.”
—Carol S. Chrisman, Referee of the Sacramento County Juvenile Court
“Resources like Courage House have been the missing link in our efforts to successfully investigate and prosecute persons who prey on and profit from the sexual abuse of girls by prostituting them. Absent were places where we could take our victims to begin the process of healing from the abuse they endured. These girls need medical and psychological support, opportunities to continue with their education, and role models who can show them the many opportunities they have before them to lead healthy and productive lives. These girls need a place to feel safe. Courage House represents that safety and the hope they sorely need.”
—Laurel White, Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office
“In working with the young, underage victims of sex trafficking in both delinquency and dependency, I have come to realize that they present difficult issues relative to placement, counseling, recidivism and education. In talking with Jenny the past couple of years regarding the creation of Courage House, it became clear to me that not only did she recognize the need for a place that met the needs of these young women, Jenny was also willing to include the community in shaping Courage House. As I explained to Jenny very early on, Courage House is sorely needed in our community as well as other communities dealing with the unique problem posed by these young victimized girls.”
—Judge Troy L. Nunley, Superior Court of California, Sacramento County
“Many of us look at the atrocities of our world and say, ‘How horrible,’ but occasionally some brave soul says, ‘How can I help bring an end to this?’ Think of William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mother Teresa. Jenny Williamson is such a brave soul, and Courage Worldwide is a long-overdue answer to the problem of human-trafficking. I am honored to be a friend and supporter of this tremendous ministry.”
—Dr. Rick Stedman, Senior Pastor, Adventure Christian Church
For her efforts and impact in the community, CEO and Founder of Courage Worldwide, Jenny Williamson, was awarded the FBI Director’s 2010 Community Leadership Award. Jenny works tirelessly to help restore the lives of child victims of sex trafficking and helps educate the community about the issue and its impact.
Community Spirit Award for 2011
Courage Worldwide Founder Jenny Williamson was awarded the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Community Spirit Award for 2011 by District Attorney Jan Scully.
This prestigious award recognizes community members or organizations who exemplify an unwavering commitment to the safety and well being of the community. Jenny was selected for the award for the work that she has done in the greater Sacramento region that has given attention and brought hope to issues involving human trafficking and child sexual exploitation, and for building Courage Houses in the community and abroad.
Lungren Recognizes Community Leader for Her Efforts to Help Victims of Human Trafficking
Washington DC – Recognizing Jenny Williamson of Courage Worldwide, who recently received the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award, Congressman Dan Lungren (R-Gold River- CA) released the following statement commending Jenny and her team for their tireless work in creating a safe and compassionate environment for victims of human trafficking.
“I have been working on legislation to protect women and children from sexual predators for much of my career. As the Attorney General of California, I helped ensure passage of California’s Megan’s Law, which created a statewide sex offender registry allowing parents to protect their children from threats in their own neighborhoods. More recently, I worked with my colleagues in the House to pass the International Megan’s Law, which will keep high risk predators away from children both at home and abroad. My work on this legislation piqued the interest of law enforcement officials in Baja California who are now working on enacting a Megan’s Law registry in their community.
“In September of this year, the Judiciary Committee’s Crime Subcommittee held a hearing focusing on the problem of sex trafficking of minors in this country, which is a huge problem in the Sacramento region. I was thrilled to be able to invite Truckee Police Chief Nicholas Sensley, a renowned expert on anti-trafficking task forces, to testify at the hearing. I had been introduced to Chief Sensley by Jenny Williamson about a year ago through a series of forums on the issue of human trafficking we held in Rancho Cordova. We had thirteen witnesses testify at that hearing, including four sitting Members of Congress and one former Member, and every single one of them said that the key to getting girls away from traffickers and other predators is providing safe housing with comprehensive services. Jenny is exactly on target in her approach.
“I am convinced that with Jenny’s boundless energy combined with her passion to rescue girls who are victims of sex traffickers, we will soon see her vision for Courage House come to fruition. It has been a privilege to work with Jenny on this issue. Earlier this year, she helped my office put together a series of forums on human trafficking in Rancho Cordova during which we informed the community as to the extent of this problem in our region. I am pleased to report that we now have a regional law enforcement task force headed up by Chief Sensley working on deterrence and prevention. But in our efforts to deal with traffickers and sexual predators, we cannot forget the victims. That is where Jenny’s work is so valuable. She always reminds us that the crime of trafficking leaves real victims in its wake and that we have a responsibility to protect them, to rescue them, and to help them heal. “
Congressman Dan Lungren
2262 Rayburn House Office Building
Office Phone: 202-225-5716
Water Walker, Giant Slayer, History Maker Award