What is Love?

The women in the 60 day emergency assessment program are reading Redeeming Love in our Support Group.  It has lead to some wonderful discussions so far. My favorite being what is love?  I asked the woman to describe love.  Some said it was a feeling and others that it was being selfless.  Then I read to them 1 Corinthians 13.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues,they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

The women’s faces lit up as I asked if they could imagine having that sort of love.  We’d been talking in the context of boyfriends and husbands, and finally someone spoke up and said “I don’t believe that man exists.”  I smiled and agreed we’d never find a man that was all those things all the time.  Only God can love us completely, only God is always patient, always kind, never dishonoring, not easily angered.  Only he can truly keep no record of wrong. He is our protector, he can always be trusted.

When you’ve gone your whole life and never experienced the loved talked about in 1 Corinthians it’s hard to imagine even God could offer it.  When the only love you’ve know was motivated by self interest, pleasure, greed, lust, survival…  How do you understand His Love? Although we are imperfect, I hope that Rescue Houston will mirror that sort of love for these women.  

60 Day Emergency Assessment Program Starts Strong!

In the five years since Rescue Houston launched its 24/7 hotline, we have helped rescue and serve over 250 victims of sexual exploitation in the greater Houston area. Huge thanks to all who have contributed over the years and supported Rescue Houston in bridging the gap for survivors between outreach efforts and long-term aftercare!

Our years of service on the front line has afforded us greater revelation of the varied and complex life circumstances that affect survivor behavior. Driven by all we’ve learned, the clarity of our call, and the expertise and encouragement of our partners to fill the greatest need on Houston’s anti-sex trafficking landscape, Rescue Houston debuted our emergency assessment program in May 2018. From May to September, we provided services, continued to build, track program-related outcomes and ultimately learned a lot more about how to better serve survivors in the emergency assessment space.

With that, we officially hard-launched our 60-day emergency assessment program; its goals expressed in the last three tenets of our five-step process: Respond, Rescue, Assess, Stabilize, and Place. Considering that most victims who leave the life return to it within several days, the 60-day period after a victim leaves is arguably the most critical period in determining if she or he is likely to remain on the healing journey and exit the life. Below is an overview of the process and services provided in the Rescue Houston emergency assessment program:

Assess

While assessment informally begins the moment a survivor calls the hotline, our formal emergency assessment process, data collection, and resulting services are the “game-changing” pieces of our streamlined exit program. Once a survivor’s security is provided for by a partner shelter or other housing provider, the outstanding physiological needs are addressed—food, water, and sleep. Within 24-36 hours of placement, we invite a survivor to journey with us in our program, encouraging her or him prioritize healing for the next 60 days.

Shortly following program commitment, specialized therapists, a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and advocates begin administering assessments and holistically treating behavioral challenges, “stuck places”, and DSM-V diagnoses common to victims of sex trafficking such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar and dissociative identity disorder.

Stabilize

As with the assessment piece, stabilization begins at the moment of client encounter. All members of our team are trained to “be the peace” in the storm and serve in love, helping to begin establishing trust in our process from the first hotline call. Formally, stabilization is the result of our 60-day emergency assessment day program which include the following services:

  • Next Step individual and group therapy sessions, including: Rhythmic Movement Therapy, therapeutic bodywork, sensory development, reflex integration, mindfulness-based breathwork therapy, trigger management therapy, etc.
  • Spiritual Exchange discipleship sessions
  • Licensed Professional Counselor counseling
  • Case management appointments, including the facilitation of obtaining legal documents, court advocacy, psychiatric evaluation, other medical examinations and treatment, continued care placement education and application assistance, etc.
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Survivor-Led Support Group
  • Mentor Outings
  • Legal Mapping
  • New Life Look Makeovers in partnership with Sola Salon Studios

Place

As clients approach the completion our program, advocates help coordinate the continuation of their care in vetted long-term restoration homes or with community resource providers that will continue to facilitate their chosen path to recovery. Continued care placement can include a specific long-term trafficking safe home located anywhere throughout the country, independent living with case management and wrap around resources or connection and reintegration to their family and home life.

In 2019 Rescue Houston anticipates receiving 550 hotline calls, of which approximately 120 victims and survivors of the minimum 300 who call are expected to exit the life. Because of federal funding awarded by the Texas Governor’s Office, we look forward to providing services that will holistically support around 72 survivors who will be able to participate in our emergency assessment program. If you’re a survivor or know of one who may be interested in joining us in a 60-day healing journey, call our 24/7 hotline at 713.322.8000 or email us at info@rescuehouston.ngo.