Home Violence Grace House Offers Hope and Healing for Teen Sex Trafficked Victims

Grace House Offers Hope and Healing for Teen Sex Trafficked Victims

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Construction has finally ended on Grace House, a long-term residential care facility in Southern Oregon built as an extension of Redemption Ridge. The first of its kind in the state, Grace House was built to meet the unique needs of sex trafficked female survivors ages 11 to 17.

Grace House will be a safe haven for girls who have endured horrific abuse. At 3,640 square feet, it will offer seven bedrooms, four bathrooms, a large great room and kitchen area, a classroom, comfort room and therapy room. Individuals who have suffered complex trauma will have access to comprehensive care involving intense counseling and life-skills training in a loving, nurturing and uplifting environment.

Grace house has been designed to represent healing and restoration. Every detail was specifically intended to restore dignity and instill hope and encouragement into those who had been forced into a lifestyle of sexual exploitation.

“We cannot ignore the plight of these sexually exploited young women” (Redemption, 2017, p. 3) says Kathie Kapple, Executive Director of Redemption Ridge. “Grace House is a beautiful, secure, and safe place that allows them to have the time and support they need for healing and restoration.” Opportunity will be given to each girl at Grace House to develop a personalized life plan to lead her on a path of healing and restoration. This plan will address her emotional, physical, educational and spiritual needs. It is the desire of Grace House to offer a successful pathway to independent, self-sufficient living for young women.

Thirteen professionally trained, trauma-informed staff have been hired to oversee the success of each resident’s journey to wellness. According to Terry Rasmussen, the Board Chair of Redemption Ridge, “Through Grace House and its professional and caring staff, residents begin a personal journey allowing them to discover their own unique purpose, and ultimately, to lead healthy and productive lives” (Redemption, 2017, p. 3).

Sitting on an acre of land in Southern Oregon, the pre-existing building was taken back to its foundation and completely rebuilt. Claudio Alvarez, the head of the project, with the help of many volunteer subcontractors, completed the house in two years and more than 1,500 pro-bono hours by Alvarez alone. “You can’t put a price tag on the lives of these survivors” (Redemption, 2017, p. 6), says Alvarez. “It’s time for them to be surrounded by the comforts of a home built for them to heal.” The entire project was completed through volunteer work, time and donated materials.

An estimated 100,000 U.S. youth each year are at risk of falling prey to sex traffickers. The average age of youth when they are initially forced into sex trafficking is 13-14 years old, with minors making up nearly half of all sex trafficking victims. Now the second-fastest growing criminal industry, one in three runaway teens is recruited within the first 48 hours of being homeless. Despite such high numbers, resources to help and house these young survivors are limited. There are currently less than 500 beds nationwide available for the long-term care that is required to transition teen sex trafficking victims into mainstream living. It was with this in mind that Redemption Ridge took action by gathering support from the community as well as local and statewide foundations as they developed the Grace House vision.

References:

(May 31, 2017). Redemption Ridge Opens Safe House for Teen Survivors of Sex Trafficking. Redemption Ridge. Retrieved from http://redemptionridge.org/get-involved/grace-house/

(June 1, 2017). Construction completed on home for sex trafficking survivors. NBC. Retrieved from https://kobi5.com/news/construction-completed-on-home-for-sex-trafficking-survivors-54035/

Reaume, G. (May 31, 2017). Beautiful Home Ready to House Several Sex Trafficking Victims. KDRV.COM. Retrieved from http://www.kdrv.com/story/35560697/beautiful-home-ready-to-house-several-sex-trafficking-victims

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Alison Morgan is an intern for The American Public Safety Training Institute. She will graduate from BYU-Idaho in mid-July with a Bachelors of Science in Health Science with an emphasis in Public Health. Next, Alison will work on getting accepted to a masters program in either scientific journalism, public health, or psychology. She hopes to serve as a bridge between people and science through the written word or through client/provider relationships.