The physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual repercussions from the trauma of sexual exploitation and commercial trafficking are extreme and lasting without proper intervention. Victims of sex trafficking suffer from a myriad of complex medical and emotional health issues needing to be addressed immediately, including: physical health problems; reproductive health problems, including exposure to HIV, AIDs, and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancies, abortions, and fertility issues; malnutrition; alcohol, drug abuse, and addiction; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.) and Borderline personality; extreme anxiety and fear; suicide attempts and other self-destructive behaviors; despair and hopelessness as well as profound shame and guilt; attachment disorder; and little to no preventative health care or treatment. The process of recovering from these complex issues is long, difficult, expensive, and takes a great deal of courage to embark on.
Girls and women, specifically, are disproportionately impacted by the sex trafficking industry and commercial sexual exploitation. There is a severe lack of dedicated safe houses for the minor female population providing residential care, trauma-informed counseling, onsite schooling, or vocational/educational opportunities for victims. By providing safe houses and trauma-informed resources, we can see the lives of children restored as they reintegrate into society as independent, healthy young women.
How are they Rescued?
Courage Worldwide relies on the FBI and law enforcement to do the actual rescuing of children in the United States. We work in collaboration with child welfare, probation officers, families, and other community organizations to place children at the closest located Courage House, our homes for minor female victims. Internationally, we partner with local non-profit organizations and government partnerships, as well as collaborate with Social Welfare, to bring referred child victims to our international Courage Houses.
Where do they go after rescue?
Sadly, there is a severe worldwide shortage of residential programs and services to meet the needs of this vulnerable, highly traumatized population. Global victim estimates range in the millions and, in the U.S., reports conclude there are hundreds of thousands of victims. Despite these high numbers of victims, there are less than 100 beds available in the United States and not nearly enough services provided to the population.
As of December 31, 2015, Courage Worldwide has received over 310 calls to place female victims at Courage House. The majority of these victims were turned down due to a lack of space, both nationally and internationally.
What is the Solution?
Our dream is that every child survivor would have the support necessary to begin their journey of hope and healing. Expanding locations of Courage Houses all across the world provides victims with greater access to necessary trauma-informed services and safe houses.
To join us, you can:
Video by Courage Worldwide
Video by UNICEF – United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund