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:
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.