National Human Trafficking Awareness Day on January 11th brings visibility to a horrendous crime that leaves a long-lasting toll on survivors, their families and communities throughout the world.
Over the past four years of serving more than 1,300 of Florida’s sex trafficked children and young adults, we have seen that survivors have much more in common than just what happened to them. They often share courage, determination and resilience far beyond their years.
Briannah’s Survivor Story of Hope
Briannah* is just one of the survivors who we are celebrating today. We were told she was referred to the Open Doors Outreach Network as a “last-ditch effort.” The child welfare system had grown frustrated with her poor behavior that caused several failed placements. Our Open Doors Outreach Teams in multiple regions spent hundreds of hours advocating and educating numerous state agencies that have touched her case to ensure her trauma-related needs were met, including a specialized placement.
Our support helped Briannah to finally let down her walls to understand she was a victim of a serious crime. Once this mind-frame was established, she began to no longer see herself as a criminal or drug addict, but as an exploited child in need of specialized services to overcome serious trauma.
When Briannah moved into the specialized placement located in another city, our Network Providers in two regions collaborated to ensure continuity in services. Time and again, this seamless coordination throughout our Network has proven to be the tipping point when caring for survivors. Just as importantly, this survivor, who many adults had feared could be a “hopeless cause” feels helpless no longer.
Many Thanks for Making Hope Happen
Today and every day, Voices for Florida is proud to partner with our affiliate, American Children’s Campaign, our Network Providers – Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, FLITE Center, More Too Life and Whole Child Leon. It takes more than 700 community partners, and thousands of supporters to make hope happen for sex trafficked children and young adults, who are certainly among the most vulnerable populations in Florida.
Together, we are making a real difference!
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*name changed to protect privacy