It takes insurmountable courage to escape human trafficking and sexual exploitation. After facing years of coercion, manipulation, threats, and abuse, simply walking away from a life of terror into a completely new life with no work history, no resources, and seemingly no place to call home is not an easy decision. Alabaster Jar Project provides a way out of the life and a safe segway into the world, and as if that step wasn’t hard enough, survivors are now left with an almost impossible question: Now what?
At the beginning of the process, Alabaster Jar Project insures that basic needs are met for all clients. In our safe house and in our resource center, we provide a pantry of both fresh and non perishable foods. Some survivors come to us with little more than the clothes on their backs, and with help from donors, we have supplied a “boutique” of second hand clothing, toiletries like soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, and toothpaste, as well as other necessary items. Upon arrival into the program, clients are issued case management through North County Lifeline, an organization that offers counseling, housing needs, a legal clinic, and other resources.
Now, it’s time to build the path for the future. How can new survivors gain independence and be able to sustain their lives going forward? Alabaster Jar Project provides educational and vocational opportunities to all eligible clients. Work opportunities are available and employment is encouraged through both case management services and through our program. Moral support is also provided through therapy and support groups, and mentors are prevalent in our community.
Some survivors are not eligible for the safe house, because Grace House does not have the capability to house their children, and some survivors require a more intensive rehabilitation from substance abuse, etc. However, we still provide services to these survivors. Our drop-in resource center is available to all survivors where, as said, we provide necessary items and can refer them to case managers who will help them in their journey towards independence. We offer a weekly support group for survivors where we discuss rehabilitation techniques and tools in a warm community of sister survivors and thrivers.
But graduation from our program doesn’t mean survivors are completely on their own. Sabrina*, a graduate of Alabaster Jar Project and Grace House, still receives services through our program. “I have been living on my own for six months,” she states, “but I still struggle sometimes. I go to support group when I can. I love being around other survivors who are making it in the world. If I need help or just need someone to talk to, I can call them. If I need food or new interview clothes, all I have to do is ask.” Leaving is only the first step in the journey. Alabaster Jar Project provides opportunities for the next step, and the next and the next, until our survivors become thrivers.
*Names have been changed to protect anonymity