Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center awarded contract to expand Open Doors Outreach Network services
Voices for Florida announced that the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center (The Policy Center) was awarded a contract to expand Open Doors Outreach Network services to sex trafficked children and young adults ages 10 – 24 in the North Coastal Florida region. Referrals are anticipated to begin in early spring in Flagler, Volusia and Putnam counties. The Policy Center already provides Open Doors services in neighboring Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Baker and Clay counties. In 2020 there were 12 verified child sex trafficking victims in Volusia County.
Voices for Florida’s Open Doors Outreach Network is the state’s leading trauma-informed 24/7 network for helping sex trafficked children and young adults. Open Doors services are currently available in five other Florida regions: Big Bend, Northeast Florida, Gold and Treasure Coast, Southeast Florida and Suncoast Victims are supported by a team of professionals, including Survivor-Mentors, Regional Advocates, Clinicians, and Victim Services Coordinators that work together to provide emergency stabilization, individualized wellness plans, ongoing support and more to help victims heal.
Over 1,300 Victims Have Received Open Doors Outreach Network Services
The Policy Center has served 260 sex trafficked children and young adults to date through the Open Doors Outreach Network, which has helped over 1,300 across Florida since services began in 2017.
“The Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center has not only been an integral partner in providing Open Doors Outreach services to the Northeast Florida region, but also they helped develop the original Open Doors model of services,” said Deborah Foote, Voices for Florida President. “We are so pleased that this expansion will allow them to support even more sex trafficked children and young adults on their journey to survivorship.”
“The network approach utilized by the Open Doors Outreach Network is tremendously valuable in helping survivors of sex trafficking. As survivors move to another region, which happens more often than many realize, there can be a seamless transition of services so sex trafficked children and young adults don’t fall through the cracks,” said Chanel Dionne, Co-Chair of the Freedom 7 Human Trafficking Taskforce.
All Children Are Vulnerable
Florida is a hot spot for human trafficking, ranking third in the nation for reports to the National Human Hotline. There were 738 reports of human trafficking in Florida to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2020, the latest statistics available. Most of the reports (514) were for sex trafficking and 142 reports involved minors. In 2020 there were 12 verified child sex trafficking victims in Volusia County and 2 in Putnam County.
“We know that sex trafficking is a historically underreported crime and that the number of verified victims is just the tip of the iceberg. We look forward to identifying more survivors in need and providing them with necessary tools to overcome their trauma, and live happy and healthy lives. We are excited to be expanding this important work to additional counties so that victims/survivors of CSE can connect with people who care and are committed to advocating for impactful changes at all levels,” said Dr. Vicky Basra, President & CEO of the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center.
The average age of a child sex trafficking victim is just 12-14. Both boys and girls are victimized. All children are vulnerable, but foster children, runaways and homeless youth are especially at risk.