Have you ever taken a moment as you are rushing out of your local grocery store to stop and think where those little faces plastered on missing posters across the entrance way have ended up? Many of those children haven’t eaten in days. Today there is an estimated 300,000 domestic, and 20 million globally enslaved child sex workers (U.S State Department). Of those 20 million, only a fraction of them are rescued. For many, it is assumed this is where the trauma and pain stop. But, in reality this is just the beginning of the long journey to healing that these children will have to endure.
Although the awareness of human trafficking of minors is on the rise there is still so much that needs to be done. Currently there are only 18 out of the 50 states which have implemented safe harbor laws, which recognize these youth as victims of sexual abuse and exploitation rather than treating them as criminals. Though these numbers are small they are still progress. Each new policy enacted , law passed, safe home established ,and person who has gained awareness are but the beginning bricks laid in the foundation on the long path to ending modern day slavery.
Resilience Rising, where I intern, is one of the few agencies out of a handful of therapeutic, residential programs in the entire country created specifically for this population. We are striving to build not only a foundation toward the eradication of human trafficking; but toward helping survivors build their own foundation on which to begin their new lives. We are based in Colorado but can take youth from anywhere in the country. We have the capacity to house eight female youth and two small children to accommodate teenage mothers. Resilience Rising provides such basic needs as shelter, food, clothing, and nurturing; case management for medical and dental care, substance abuse treatment, and legal advocacy; onsite mental health services, including individual, group, creative arts, and animal therapy; an onsite school, focusing on GED attainment and college placement; and an onsite physical fitness program.
Our agency is in the final stages of opening. We must complete final inspections and licensing through county and state entities before we can open. Once completed, we are aiming for a fall grand opening. We have begun outreach to the local FBI’s Innocence Lost Take Force, multiple district attorneys’ offices, juvenile probation, and social services. All have youth on their caseloads ready for placement and are eager for Resilience Rising to open its doors. Your donations towards Resilience Rising’s team in the Justice Run will allow us to open our doors as soon as possible to vulnerable youth desperately needing a place to call home.
At Resilience Rising we believe that it takes a village to raise a child. We hope that you will join our village as we fight the sexual exploitation of American children, and letting them know “we see you. We hear you. We insist on your dignity. And we share your belief that if just given the chance, you will forge a life equal to your talents and worthy of your dreams” (President Barack Obama).
You can learn more about our background, our program, and our team by visiting our website at www.resilience-rising.org. Thank you for believing in these girls and in the work we do. We couldn't do what we do without YOU!