Human Trafficking Awareness Month: Supporting child survivors
Human Trafficking Awareness Month, observed in January, is dedicated to raising awareness of the underground world of sexual slavery and human trafficking.
Today, an estimated 21 million children, women and men are victims of trafficking and forced labor.* Shockingly, this practice all too often involves children. And it’s happening here in the United States; children are sold online and on the streets every day in both urban and suburban areas.
Devereux Advanced Behavioral Heath wants to shine a light on this issue by standing with the victims of this crisis and making the world a safer place for all children.
“Victims of commercial sexual exploitation are extremely vulnerable and have been taken advantage of against their will. Many times, these girls are tricked or seduced into a relationship and, once they are trafficked, they face tremendous physical, emotional and psychological wounds as a result of the trauma they endure. The same is true for boys, who engage in survival sex after running away or being abandoned by their families; as minors, they are still exploited and still victims,” explained Devereux National Executive Director for Mental Health Dr. Yolanda Graham. “Human Trafficking Awareness Month offers us an opportunity to generate awareness, offer our support to victims and educate the public on how to identify and prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of children.”
The impact of human trafficking
The most common form of modern day slavery is sex trafficking – and no country, or community, is immune.
According to Polaris, a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery, the International Labor Organization estimates there are 4.5 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation globally.
About Devereux’s CSEC program
Devereux’s Residential Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) program provides sophisticated treatment for girls and boys across the country, ages 10-21, who have experienced emotional, physical and sexual trauma.
These services – currently available in our Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Texas locations – offer individual and group therapy to address the complex traumas of exploited youth, while also providing a sense of community and reducing feelings of isolation. Devereux also works with youth to instill skills to develop healthier lifestyles, improving their ability to safely and successfully reintegrate into their families and communities.
“Our programs support trafficked childhood victims on their path to healing,” added Graham. “We are able to meet their unique needs through trauma-informed, evidence-based clinical therapies, delivered in a compassionate and supportive environment.”
* Data according to the UNICEF “End Trafficking Toolkit.”
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