When our survivor sisters graduate from Grace House Residential Program and are living their own independent lives, they still may need help from time to time. We do our best to continue our specialized support because it is incredibly common for survivors of sex trafficking to re-enter prostitution after they have recovered for two major reasons:
- Cost of living is very difficult to maintain, especially in California, and many survivors are also single moms with children to support. This stressor can lead a survivor of sexual exploitation to resort to desperate measures, including prostitution, to help make ends meet.
- When survivors can’t find support from family or friends, they may turn to unhealthy relationships for their emotional needs, including their trafficker or abuser.
Since these factors can be dangerous for survivors, we always ask ourselves: What happens when these women go back into a world where there are temptations and triggers, and what can we do to help them sustain their independent lives?
Our team facilitates Aftercare for graduates of Grace House and other survivors who are seeking help. This means that our services don’t stop once they graduate their recovery program; although they may no longer need housing or guidance, they are welcome to continue to receive services from our staff at our Resource Center. Here are some of the things we do in the Aftercare Stage:
- We continue to offer specialized services to Aftercare clients, including financial education like Financial Health 101presented by Wells Fargo bankers, legal resources through Free To Thrive, and much needed referrals to mental health and medical services.
- If an Aftercare client is facing crisis, they can visit our Resource Center where they can obtain both fresh and perishable foods, clothing, hygiene items, among many other emergency needs.
- We encourage any survivors who are living independently to participate in our Peer Led Support Group. It has been scientifically proven that peer-led support in a person’s own environment can lead to long-term success. It’s also an opportunity for us to foster a community of sisterhood where all survivors can learn from each other, grow together, and give and receive support as needed.
Part of our ongoing care involves activism within our community. Our staff continues to spread awareness of sexual exploitation in hopes that we will inspire laws to be changed so the legal system will recognize survivors as victims of crimes, not perpetrators, and that survivors who are seeking help can continue to receive services and support from AJP. While we don’t require the women we serve to participate in any rallies or demonstrations, we gladly include them if they feel led to join us.
Alabaster Jar Project recognizes that rehabilitation doesn’t stop once survivors graduate from Grace House. By providing Aftercare services, we can ensure the effectiveness of our residential program and foster the thriving community of survivor sisters whom we serve. You can help ensure our Aftercare’s effectiveness by supporting the Resource Center. Visit our website and our Facebook for upcoming opportunities to help.
written by Amanda Moon Ellevis