Street’s Hope envisions a healthy community void of sex trafficking and the commercial sex industry where every woman is empowered and restored to her humanity.
The Challenge: End Modern Day Slavery
It starts as young as 13. They are branded, trafficked, bought and sold as property. Abused over and over again, there is often no way out; just like a war vet, they suffer from PTSD and their average lifespan is a dismal 7 years.
Human trafficking is the exploitation of people for labor or commercial sex. Denver is a major hub for trafficking and it is getting worse. On average, 355 unaccompanied minors experience homelessness every night and 1 in 3 runaway teens are recruited within 48 hours of leaving home. 70% of homeless youth engage in prostitution simply to meet their daily needs. There is a severe shortage of victim services and online classifieds are making it easier to break the law.
Solution: The Street’s Hope Model
A Systemic Approach to an Age Old Problem
Street’s Hope has been providing evidence-based, survivor-informed programming since 2008. Our program, one of the most long standing in the U.S., is a national model for service providers working with this population.
We provide holistic services for women 18 and over who are escaping sex trafficking. Our wide range of services include street outreach, intensive residential treatment and continuing care. We are the only safe house in the Rocky Mountain region exclusively serving adult women over 18 who are escaping sex trafficking.
We partner with multiple stakeholders, including law enforcement, homeless and addiction service providers, the prison, probation, and parole systems, human services agencies, advocates, and churches. For the safety of women, who are often hunted by their traffickers, our house is located at an undisclosed location, offering a safe space to heal. All the women we serve have complex post traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), and our treatment is holistic, based on a wellness model approach to trauma and addiction.
Our services include access to basic needs (shelter, food, clothing, hygiene), intensive case management, individual and group therapy, sobriety monitoring, and life skills classes. Educational testing, employment assessment and placement, mentoring and optional spiritual support, as well as continuing care, are additional components of the program .
Success is relative to each individual, and our goal is that every woman completes the program having the skills and confidence to be self-sufficient and self-reliant in ways that support their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
To systemically address this issue, more beds are necessary, a crisis shelter and intake facility are a needed critical first step for victims, and community-supported transitional housing is necessary for sustainability. There is so much work to do, but with your help we can and will succeed.
1. Street Outreach
Every journey requires a first step. Street Outreach is designed to bring awareness and resource options to women working in the sex trade on the Colfax corridor. These women are living in danger, poverty and hardship. We want to contact as many of them as we can, to let them know that we care. We believe that continuing and expanding this outreach is an important part of our work.
Street Outreach is designed to bring awareness and resource options to women working in the sex trade on the Colfax corridor. Approximately 20 women per month contacted. Also can utilize David’s House of Purpose as a base of outreach operations on East Colfax. (1-2 staff/interns/volunteers for up to 5 hours per week, materials donated.)
2. Crisis/ Emergency Center
There is a critical services gap in Denver. There is no safe place for sex trafficking victims in immediate need of crisis services.
Law enforcement, including the FBI, Homeland Security, and their local partners are on the front lines of this struggle. They routinely need managed space for crisis beds and witness protection. We are often contacted by agencies outside of Colorado who are seeking our expertise and assistance with victims who need to be relocated outside those communities.
Our goal is to raise the funding necessary to create a crisis/emergency shelter with 3-5 beds available, in a secure facility at an undisclosed location in metro Denver.
3. Intake Facility
One of the most difficult issues we face as a service provider involves the intractability of complex trauma and the length of time and degree of support needed to overcome this deep scarring and shaming. We recognize that by changing the phases of our program we can stabilize residents on multiple levels before beginning intensive treatment.
By pairing a 90 day intake process with a crisis center, we can determine readiness for intensive treatment while at the same time offering respite and stabilization services. These would include physical exams and treatment, mental health assessments and medication evaluations, sobriety monitoring and case management services geared toward obtaining housing and financial stability.
At our proposed intake facility we envision up to 5 beds available for a 30-90 day intake process that includes sobriety monitoring, relapse prevention, medical and psychiatric stabilization, and program readiness evaluation.
4. Residential Treatment
Plans for our residential treatment program would create new phases of programming including:
Phase 1: Intensive trauma therapy and other therapeutic modalities.
Phase 2: Preparation for job and housing. Includes educational components and support as needed, mentoring, job skills evaluation and training, life skills, healthy living.
Phase 3: Independent living skills and support, community based services, and treatment designed to foster independence and productive return to the community but not relapse to the sex trade. Solidifying family relationships where possible, we offer support for the new skills needed to maintain healthy intimate relationships.
5. Transitional Living Community and Continuing Care Program
After several years of ongoing program development, we have determined there is a critical need to provide community and support for an extended period of time after intensive treatment. Our long term goal is to build a transitional living community, as well as continue to provide continuing care services to our program alumni.
Women who need transitional living will be supported and maintained in a community setting with independent living apartments available as they are ready to transition into those. This would also enable us to manage the challenges our residents face in terms of obtaining housing in the competitive Denver housing market, often with past criminal convictions impeding them.
Next Steps—Join Us!
To fill the critical gaps in service, partner with us to end modern day slavery. we need the support of the community as a whole, coming together in a movement to change lives and create a more just and equitable world for survivors of modern day slavery.
Our primary goal is to ensure the stability and sustainability of our current program while we transition to a new expanded service model. It currently costs us close to $25,000.00 to provide 12 months of programming for one woman. The operating costs for our facility, as well as staff compensation, are included in this number. We receive no monies from any government funding sources. To fund current operations. we rely exclusively on individual donor support, church and corporate partners, and foundations.
The waiting list for our program literally expands on a daily basis, and we have to turn away those in immediate need who can’t wait to find a safe place to go. With your help we can continue our work to repair the damage done to women by the billion dollar industry of sex trafficking and involuntary sexual servitude. Together, as committed partners, we can build the next phases of our unique program and serve more women in desperate need, right here in our own backyards.