DOES CHARLOTTESVILLE NEED A SAFE HOUSE FOR SURVIVORS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING?
Recent research has shown that human trafficking is present and on the rise in Virginia; however, there are very limited options for housing (less than 10 beds specifically for trafficking survivors available in the state of Virginia). Furthermore, I-81 and I-95 are two well known for trafficking activity and we believe that a central location is ideal to provide a safe community for women who have been trafficked in Virginia or neighboring states.
We also hope to enhance the rich and varied resources already present, such as the local Domestic Violence (DV) shelters. Most DV shelters are able to house survivors for only a short period of time, and many are currently at capacity serving women and men escaping abusive situations. By targeting the unique population of human trafficking survivors, The Arbor will allow DV shelters to focus their resources on their intended populations.
IS TRAFFICKING HAPPENING IN VIRGINIA?
The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the Virginia Office of the Attorney General both acknowledge the presence of human trafficking in Virginia as well as current gaps in services for survivors. View the DCJS report. This report indicates that human trafficking is likely on the rise in Virginia, and that the majority of victims are adult females. Sixty percent of victims identified by responders were Spanish-speakers. The most commonly identified needs for survivors were: basic needs (such as food and shelter), victim-specific services (i.e. sexual assault services), crisis and health services, and advocacy and legal services.
In 2012, The Arbor conducted a Needs Assessment that spanned Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington, DC. We interviewed 36 professionals, including police officers, nurses, hospital social workers, and crisis center advocates. Twenty-six of these professionals stated that human trafficking is a present in their geographic region. Thirteen stated either they or others at their represented organizations had personally encountered human trafficking victims. From their comments, we estimate about 45 individual survivors made contact with these 13 professionals. A variety of needs were expressed during interviews, including short and long-term housing, screening tools, human trafficking awareness education, counseling services, and culturally specific services.
WHAT OTHER ORGANIZATIONS ARE ALSO WORKING ON THIS ISSUE?
The Gray Haven offers services in Richmond, VA, to survivors of human trafficking.
Polaris Project serves Washington, DC, and provides a national hotline to report tips of suspected incidences of human trafficking.
International Justice Mission (IJM) rescues and provides aftercare in foreign countries.
We hope to work collaboratively with other organizations as they form in the state.
WHO IS ABLE TO REFER TO THE ARBOR AND HOW CAN THEY MAKE THE REFERRAL?
Any service providers or allied professionals may make referrals to The Arbor, including hospitals, police, federal government representatives, or nonprofit staff. Calls may be made directly to our staff for intake. Community members who have a tip about a suspected incident of human trafficking are advised to report to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 1-888-373-7888.
WHAT SERVICES DO WE PROVIDE TO THE WOMEN WHO LIVE AT THE ARBOR?
Women who have survived human trafficking have a wide variety of individual needs and wants. Our goal is to support each resident on her own journey of healing and wholeness. Some of the services we offer through our organization and through partnerships include:
- A secure, safe, and welcoming home. The duration of stay will be determined together by the resident and The Arbor case managers. We expect most residents will stay for approximately one year.
- Meals and basic necessities will be provided for each resident when they first arrive. Over time, we will support residents as they begin to provide for themselves.
- Health care, legal needs, and counseling.
- Education, ESL classes, and job training.
- Community support, such as optional workshops and activities,
mentorship with community volunteers, and faith resources (if requested).
WHY IS THE ARBOR A FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATION?
At the Arbor, we are motivated by the justice and healing found in the Bible and lived out in the person of Jesus. The challenging work of restoration encourages us to seek strength from one another and our communities of faith. We are an ecumenical board committed to living out the words of Jesus, which invite us into love, hospitality, and compassionate justice. We believe in supporting each client as a whole person with unique physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. We support survivors regardless of their religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, criminal background, and financial or immigration status.
WHAT IS THE ARBOR’S CAPACITY?
The Arbor is now open and has the capacity to serve seven women at a time.
HOW CAN I DONATE TO THE ARBOR?
Checks may be made out to The Arbor Charlottesville and mailed to PO Box 4692, Charlottesville, VA 22905.
You may also donate online. (*note: when donating online, 4% goes to our service provider, Qgiv). All donations are tax-deductible.