“SH”, a victim of sex trafficking in the United States, was hard, closed, dark, unhappy, and broken. Young girls like SH are the focus of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in January, with January 11 being declared National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
The United States Department of Defense defines sex trafficking as a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age. Methods of commercial sex trafficking include but are not limited to the internet, pornography, street prostitution, strip clubs, massage parlors, truck stops, and residential brothels. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, this $9.5 billion industry puts over 300,000 children at risk every year, with one-third of teens on the street being lured into prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.
At The Covering House, SH found long-term therapeutic housing that offered refuge and restoration, using the least restrictive environment, providing safety, dignity, and freedom using top level staffing and oversight. Many months later, SH now has a glow about her! Instead of living in danger and fear, she writes songs and poems and has discovered a passion for art. She’s working through her concerns about going home, but there’s a sparkle in her eyes. “She did the work but The Covering House gave her the place, and the time, and the grace, and the love, to get there,” said Attorney Addie Wood, who advocated for SH.
Freegirl Skin Care has partnered with Good Meets World to support The Covering House. “Sex trafficking is ruining the lives of countless young girls right in our own communities every single day,” says founder Jamie Hedman. “Our mission isn’t just setting your skin free. It’s about freeing women in need as well. Every Freegirl product helps support The Covering House – a non-profit refuge for children and teens that have experienced sexual trafficking or exploitation.”
The majority of clients at The Covering House are thirteen to fifteen years old. Over half of them have no funding source for food, shelter, clothing, or basic life necessities, and 61% of clients suffer physical symptoms related to the trauma they’ve endured. At The Covering House, SH and other clients are gently led through six program phases using a holistic approach to restoration:
- The Beginning the first month orientation allows the girl to adjust to therapy, establish physical safety, and set basic goals.
- The Journey help her define safety, identify safe people and learn self-care.
- Figuring Out Who I Am empowers her to begin making her own choices and advocating for herself.
- Courage the girl learns the importance of facing her trauma and how to move forward.
- Moving On the girl must identify what obstacles might prevent her from reconnecting, i.e. boundaries, fears, forgiveness.
- Finishing Well focuses on the re-connection. She will learn how to set her own boundaries, make choices, and express her needs.
Hedman urges, “Please join Freegirl Skin Care and The Covering House in the fight against domestic sex-trafficking by joining our community and educating yourself on how to help in your local area.” To learn more about sex trafficking or the Covering House, please visit www.freegirlskincare.com/give.