Exploited in Our Midst

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“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1 AMP).

Awareness Night

On Sunday night, September 29th,  at 7PM, Hopewood Haven will host an event at North Side entitled “Exploited in Our Midst.”  This event will serve as an awareness night for the issue of human sex trafficking.  The issue is closer than you could possibly imagine.

Hopewood Haven is a ministry starting in Greenwood to provide a safe place for renewal and healing for young women who have been rescued out of the human sex trafficking industry.  During this event, you will learn more about how to help spot the issue, help raise awareness, and also how you might could use your time or gifts to help these young women heal.

Please plan to attend if you can and help Hopewood Haven get the word out about this event by sharing this article all over the place.

Here’s some more information on the event and the epidemic:

Exploited

Human Sex Trafficking

What is the 2nd largest crime in the United States?  Human trafficking.

More than likely, this is the first time hearing the term “Human Sex Trafficking.”  If not, is the magnitude of the problem fully understood?  Faced by every resident of the United States and even the world, Human Sex trafficking is not only very present in U.S communities, but it is the fastest growing crime in the nation and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world.

The Federal Government defines Human Trafficking as:  “severe forms of trafficking in persons as: (A) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or (B) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.  The term “sex trafficking” means the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act.” [U.S.C. §7102]

Statistics

  • Trafficking generates billions of dollars each year and is the third largest source of profits for organized crime, behind drugs and weapons.
  • The estimated number of trafficking victims ranges from 20-30 million.
  • The U.S. ranks second in the world to India in the number of child prostitutes.
  • 26% or all trafficking victims are children.
  • There are over 100,000 children and youth who are in sex trade in the U.S. each year.
  • An estimated 293,000 American youths currently are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
  • U.S. Government reports that the average age of newly recruited teen prostitutes is 13.
  • Only 1% of victims of the sex trade industry are rescued.
  • Life expectancy once in the sex trade industry is 5 to 7 years.
  • 90% of runaways become a part of the sex trade industry.
  • Forced slavery today is greater than it was during all 350 years of the transatlantic slavery combined.
  • Victims of the sex trade industry do not want this life.  They are threatened, beat, raped, drugged, starved, and forced into sexual activities.
  • There are only 88 beds for rescued victims.

Government Initiatives to Combat Human Trafficking (Sex and Labor Trafficking)

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act, also known as the TVPA, was passed by Congress in 2000.  It established a comprehensive federal law to address trafficking both domestically and internationally.  TVPA establishes a three-way approach to combat Human Trafficking:  Prevention, Protection, and Prosecution. Preventative measures include various awareness programs and State Department-led monitoring and sanctions program.  A primary tactic used to hold the captives against their will, is through confiscating all their personal documents, including birth certificates, passports, visas, and licenses.  In response, the government provides the Protective measure through issuing T Visas and victim assistant services to the victims.  The Federal government has also increased prosecution through more severe penalties and new federal crimes.

In 2001 the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons was created through the establishment of the TVPA.  This department specifically deals with trafficking/ exploitation and deals with the appropriate legal ramifications against anyone caught trafficking individuals.  Other lead federal agencies that enforce the TVPA include ICE, which is U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the FBI.

It’s At the Front Door

Human Sex Trafficking is not just overseas and in Third-World Countries.  It is in the very midst of American Streets, School Systems, and even neighborhoods. There are no defining walls of human trafficking, whether rich or poor, gated community or the slums, private schools or institutions, victims come from all walks of life and traffickers do not care where or how they recruit.

A recent occurrence in South Carolina involved Booker T. Vanderhorst, 65, of Charleston.  In April of 2013, Vanderhorst was charged with sex trafficking of children.  Sex trafficking has a minimum sentence of ten years, and a maximum term of imprisonment of life.  According to the news, “If convicted, Vanderhorst faces up to life in prison on the sex trafficking charges alone.”

The Mission of Hopewood Haven

Hopewood Haven Ministries is a 501(c)(3) non-profit Christian organization dedicated to girls who have been victims of commercial sex trafficking by providing residential group homes of hope, healing, and restoration.  Through advocacy, education, and treatment programs for girls and women, Hopewood Haven confronts the issues of exploitation and childhood sexual abuse.  Its mission is to be an instrument used by God to facilitate freedom, healing, restoration, and wholeness for survivors of commercial sex trafficking and other forms of abuse.

The Five Components of HOPE CARE

1. Hopewood Haven Home:  Providing a safe and comfortable home is the first component in bringing hope and restoration to the women who have come out of the sex trafficking industry.  At the home they can experience God’s love and healing power in their lives.  Residents will receive medical attention, individual and group counseling, education, life skills training, spiritual mentoring and resources as they work towards reaching their dreams and goals.

Counseling:  The counseling program will be based upon and aligned with scripture, but will be applicable to Christians and Non-Christians alike. Counseling will be done both in a group and in individual settings and at a pace that fits each resident. Only licensed counselors will be used.

Education:  Hopewood Haven will provide an on-site school with a full-time teacher using accredited individualized curriculum. The goal is for girls to earn a high school diploma or GED.

Mentoring:  Each girl will be mentored by a trained female adult with wisdom in overcoming past abuse.

Fun:  Trips will be taken regularly and educational field trips taken quarterly.

2. National Hotline and Agency Referrals:  As a future registered safe-home and resource for the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Hopewood Haven will be on-call to provide housing and resources for survivors.  Hopewood Haven will be part of the network of safe-homes, ministries and resources across the nation working together to help victims of human trafficking.

3. Hope Care After Care: Aftercare is the support and resources that will be provided to survivors outside of the context of Hopewood Haven Homes.  Hope Care is the ongoing support to graduates of Hopewood Haven Homes as they transition into independent living. Referrals and resources, as available, will also be offered to survivors who have not lived in Hopewood Homes, but who seek healing and restoration. This can also include, but is not limited to, attending A Time To Heal Beyond Survival.

4. A Time to Heal Beyond Survival:  This is a specialized ministry comprised of four Biblically-based, 8-week programs for girls and women who have suffered from the trauma of rape, sexual, physical, domestic or self-inflicted abuse. The focus of this ministry is to help each young lady and woman realize their God-desired wholeness and to take them beyond their individual patterns of mere survival, and to lead them to the pathway of restoration and abundant life in Christ.

5. Hope Team Street Outreach:  Once a month teams will take toiletries to girls in shelters, truck stops, or prostituting on the streets.  By going out to the streets, Hopewood Haven hopes to create relationships and let them know where to go for help.

Please Get Involved

Human Trafficking is a huge problem and the need is great for people to stand up for the rights and freedom these victims of Human Trafficking have under God.  Slavery is wrong at any level and Human Trafficking is modern-day slavery. Many governmental and non-governmental agencies, including those based in the Christian faith, are fighting hard to combat Trafficking on its various levels.

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