In Missouri, a Shared Hope partner provides care for young teen girls who have been sexually trafficked or exploited in a residential setting and counseling, educational and support services for youth and adults in the community.
The organization recently brought its prevention and intervention program to youth at a juvenile detention center. Teens at the center have often had challenging pasts. The risk factors that may have led them to make decisions that landed them in the detention center also make them vulnerable to sex trafficking and exploitation. These risk factors include the lack of consistent, fully functioning adults in their lives.
The program is teaching the youth about trafficking red flags, healthy boundaries and relationships, and online safety. Program staff report that the information has resonated with the youth, who are already seeing where it applies to real-life examples. At the first session in the detention center, one of the teens identified that she had been trafficked. This was confirmation that the organization’s services are needed for this population of youth. This teenager is now receiving further services from the organization.
The organization is also serving two young sisters, ages 6 and 8, in its community-based services program. The girls were being exploited by a family member, but they are now in a foster home and are receiving therapy and case management through organization.
A former client at the organization’s residential home reached out to become a client of the organization’s community-based services program. The organization is supporting her with case management and life skills training as she works to maintain her housing. Staff say they are grateful she knew she could reach out to them for further support.
Shared Hope is proud to partner with organizations like this one as they work with survivors who are restoring their lives and to prevent other young people from becoming victims of sex trafficking.