This is a lifestyle no one chooses.
Instead, girls and women are "lured." Many times, they are forced. Threatened. And eventually, controlled.
Human trafficking is a form of slavery. It's a trade, where victims are seen as commodities to be bought and sold, usually for the purpose of various sorts of commercial sexual exploitation.
And it's happening right here in Orange County.
The issue of human trafficking is complicated, starting with identifying victims. Many feel confused, lost or embarrassed. Some may not even realize they are victims — because they were forced at such a young and vulnerable age, they do not understand what it means to be free.
Girls as young as 12 are lured, often from the foster care system. And they stay in the life for sometimes 10 years or more. All of their money is handed over to their traffickers. They have no control of their bodies or their lives.
Many have been victimized for so long or from such an early age that they never develop any life or work skills. They are completely dependent on their trafficker, and the life they've been living is the only life they know.
Up to now, trafficked women had nowhere to go in Orange County for emergency services if they wanted to escape the life.
That's why we recently launched Strong Beginnings at Orange County Rescue Mission. It's a program designed to help rescue women who have been victimized, and meet the critical need to provide them with safe, emergency housing and a path out of the lifestyle.
“We need to be that in-between transition for them to a longer-transition program, where they can move forward," says Samantha Eitner, a case manager in our Strong Beginnings program.
A gift of $81.75 will help provide emergency shelter, care and services for a woman escaping human trafficking.DONATE NOW
Since our Strong Beginnings program launched, women who want to escape human trafficking have been arriving to stay in rooms we have dedicated for them at the Village of Hope.
We have two case managers on staff to help them transition to their new environment, and help them begin to break out of the lifestyle and heal from the trauma. Our services include:
Once they're more stable, they can enter into our life-changing program at the Village of Hope, and begin the process of building a better life.
Today, your generous support is urgently needed to help more women escape from the brutality of human trafficking.
"It is a tough recovery road for them," says Samantha. "It goes against everything they were raised to believe, believing in a God who loves you unconditionally and accepts you on your worst days."
You'll not only provide rescue, but offer hope for a new life for a woman who's been victimized.