The girl opens her eyes and sits up suddenly in bed, the memories of an endless cycle of pain and terror marked only by the stream of men echoing in her mind. She wraps her arms around her legs and makes herself small for a few moments before she remembers that she’s safe. She is sore from kickboxing with her friends the day before, her tears were from her skinned knee when she tripped running to greet the horse she rode three days prior, and she felt full in a way she hadn’t for three years. After a few long moments, she lies back down on a bed that feels like a cloud compared to what she’d been used to just a few months ago and closes her eyes. As she drifts back into a peaceful sleep, this time full of anticipation for when she next gets to ride on the pretty brown horse, a word comes to mind for the house with the adults that told her she mattered every night - home.
In the United States alone, over 100,000 children are forced into prostitution every year. Most of them are only middle school students. Rather than worrying about pop quizzes and imagining their first kiss, they are forced into sexual slavery by abusers three times their age. The Internet has only made the plague of child sex trafficking spread, with the secrecy and anonymity that comes with it. Internet Ads that bring in customers are rampant and have caused sex trafficking to turn into a $32 billion industry, with a large portion of it based on the slavery and abuse of children. Even after minors are rescued, most don’t have a family that wants them back. The limited options are bleak - foster care or juvenile hall are the two main avenues taken to find a place for them. However, they don’t get the care and recovery plan that they need in either place and a startling number of rescued kids run away from foster care and return to their abusers because they don’t feel worthy of redemption. Courage Worldwide is an organization that aims to raise awareness and offer a better solution to help girls who are rescued from the horrors of the sex trafficking trade.
Courage Worldwide wants to do more than rescue these girls - they want to give them a safe home. The Courage House in North California is where they can do so. They work with the girls for years to help them start to recover from the trauma they’ve faced and teach them skills so they can go on to support themselves. Every girl has a “Unique Life Plan” created that is focused on helping her recover both emotionally and physically. Activities such as dance class, horseback riding, and art develop the girls’ confidence and other measures ensure that they won’t run away and return to the sex trade. With the help of Courage House, girls can begin to learn how to form healthy relationships and have a family that cares about them.
A second Courage House is located in Tanzania. Sex trafficking is an overwhelming issue in the country - almost a third of girls have been sexually exploited by the time they turn eighteen. The Courage House there gives rescued girls a safe place to call home and helps them learn to live independently.
Courage Worldwide does everything it can to help girls who are victims of sex trafficking, but they need help to expand their reach and help more girls. They hope to be able to help more children and to open a transitional housing home for girls once they reach eighteen to give them a continuing support system. Courage Runs help fund the organization and allow more girls to have a safe home. Awareness events help limit the ever-growing issue of child sex trafficking and pornography. Donations and Thrivent Choice Dollars move the organization closer to its goals of helping as many girls as need a home to recover.
More information about the organization can be found at CourageWorldwide.org.
Join others from Resurrection serving at The Courage House this September with God’s Work. Our Hand’s Sunday.