This has been a hard time for all of us, and victims of sexual exploitation are no exception.
They have faced increased daily violence from buyers and pimps.
They have lost jobs and not been eligible for unemployment.
They have been coping with having their children home and little or no resources to feed them.
They have been isolated from their Advocates/case workers – who are their life-lines to safety, services, and sanity.
They have been threatened with eventual eviction if they cannot pay rent.
They have been re-traumatized by feeling like captives again (after the orders to stay home).
It is an intense time, but your support through SAFE is shining a light into these dark places, and survivors are surviving!!!
Read on for some stories of how your funds are making a difference through our SAFE partners.
“When the ‘stay home’ order was put out, I know it was for everybody, but for me it felt so familiar, so terrifying. Like what it used to be like when I was told what I could and couldn’t do. When I was held captive and not free.
It triggered a lot of the trauma that I have been working so hard to heal from. And when I needed it the most I couldn’t go to Mirror Ministries Outreach Center for support group or counseling or the classes that had become so important to me.
But, they never give up on me at Mirror. They are always there. Recently, they they brought me headphones, and art stuff, and baking things and we started having our Support Groups online.
They also got me connected with a counselor online to help me find new coping skills and work through this new stuff.
My advocate calls or messages everyday, and I can call her whenever I need to talk or figure something out. Recently, we were able to get together. She bought me yummy take-out food, and we sat in the grass and just hung out.
I don’t think I would have made it if they hadn’t found a way to reach out to me when we had to stay at home. And I have been baking some really yummy things. I’m going to be ok, we are all going to be ok.” Julia – Kennewick, WA
Donna’s story (told by REST):
“Donna” is a single mother who recently called the REST hotline in need of an Advocate and housing. Donna has a history of being in abusive relationships and has struggled to maintain sobriety and custody of her children because of the abuse.
We connected Donna to one of our REST Advocates – funded by SAFE – and that has changed everything for her!
Our Advocate helped Donna buy a reliable car, regain custody of one of her sons, and gain employment with a schedule that fits her family’s needs.
She hasn’t found housing yet, but Donna and her Advocate are working diligently on finding an apartment that meets her needs and is willing to accept Donna’s criminal history due to being in the life of exploitation. In the meantime, the Advocate helped Donna become eligible for a housing program that provides a subsidy each month toward her rent – which will go a long ways once she enters housing!
All of these steps forward give Donna the safety and freedom she needs to focus on her goals, and to care for her children and herself as she looks toward a healthy, flourishing future!
“Mary” had just placed an add online to sell her body because she needed money to make ends meet. Luckily, our text outreach got to her before a buyer did, and Mary responded and was eager to hear about the services we offer.
In our conversation, Mary explained she was in need of employment and rental assistance. She had recently left “the life”, but unfortunately lost her job because of COVID.
Although she knew she would not be evicted in the short term because of the moratorium in Seattle, Mary was concerned about not being able to afford the bills that were piling up or pay her rent in the longer term.
Mary expressed feeling shameful about having to post an ad to sell sex, but explained that it was necessary in order to make sure she could feel less anxiety and provide for herself. We connected Mary to case management, helped her figure out a plan for employment and rental assistance, and provided some client assistance funds (provided by SAFE) to meet her immediate basic needs. Mary is already feeling less anxious, and is grateful for your support to help her move forward in life.
THANK YOU for supporting Julia, Donna, Mary
and countless others who are facing unspeakable hardships right now.
Your support through SAFE has changed their lives, and we’re grateful to be leaning in together to serve victims and survivors of sexual exploitation
– in a pandemic or not!
If you are looking for a place to make a difference during this challenging time, click here to fuel more victory stories like the ones above.