Nonprofit announces program for young survivors of sex trafficking
By Sarah Marloff,
11:45AM, Wed. Nov. 1, 2017
SAFE, the local nonprofit working to end sexual violence and child abuse, has launched a new project to assist youth and young adult survivors of sexual exploitation.
CARES (Collaboration, Advocacy, Response, and Engagement of Survivors) will offer drop-in space, advocacy, and a specialized foster care program to provide a comprehensive response for survivors of domestic sex trafficking of minors between the ages of 12 and 25. The program is funded by three individual grants totaling just over $1.5 million through the next two years.
According to the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault at UT-Austin, approximately 79,000 Texas youth have fallen victim to sex trafficking. CARES director Allison Davis confirmed that SAFE has been serving these survivors for years, but noted the lack of programs “specifically designed for this population to address the extreme trauma that comes from abuse by traffickers.” CARES will ensure that when a survivor has been identified, a member of the team will arrive on-site within 60 to 90 minutes to offer support and connect the survivor to in-house case managers and therapists.
The Eastside LifeWorks (835 N. Pleasant Valley) will host the drop-in center during evenings and weekends. Survivors can use that space to access specific trauma-informed and individualized services. The final part of the program includes recruitment, specialized training, and support for foster families interested in working with child survivors through SAFE’s Foster & Adopt Program. CARES will start accepting referrals for counseling beginning Nov. 13. New employees should be fully trained for drop-in services by then, with complete services beginning Dec. 4.
Survivors can contact SAFE’s 24 hour helpline (512/267-SAFE) or the SAFEline chat for help.