Orange County has just announced an innovative and life-changing emergency shelter tailored towards the needs of female sex trafficking survivors.
Strong Beginnings, which brands themselves as a faith-based program, promises to provide victim-centered care in order to mitigate the trauma suffered by forced sex workers. The shelter contains four beds and offers services surrounding healthcare, case management, and education in order to assist survivors in entering the real world after successfully escaping oftentimes life-threatening predicaments.
“My biggest goal for them is to … be safe and secure, and not feel like they have to go back into the life and make money to have enough to survive,” Samantha Eitner, Strong Beginning's case manager, told the Los Angeles Times.
The county has offered services to survivors for quite some time, providing basic necessities such as as clothing, food, temporary housing, and court support. However, Strong Beginning's is the first emergency placement which, according to Linh Tran, administrator of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force, is absolutely necessary since many survivors are identified in the middle of the night and are looking for immediate safety .
Rescue Missions's new shelter also provides a high school diploma program, which they hope will lead survivors to become self-sufficient and more able to find a job and their own housing in the future.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Tran says, "For them to come to a place where they no longer have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, where their next shower is coming from, where their clothes are coming from — it allows them to get to those root issues. And those are some of the first steps toward freedom.”