After seeing my blog post, I wanted to add this- This blog entry- because of I simply transcribed my notes- begin with the negative about the girls that are victims of trafficking. That is not my intention. More needs to be done for victims of trafficking.
However I also do not want to hide the difficulties of this organization and the women. Trauma leads to behavior that pushes people away. Negative behaviors are a coping skill. Maladaptive for sure, but they are what they learned to keep the pain away. This organization, like we should as a culture, does not let themselves be pushed away.
Last year I toured an organization that helps women (Over 18) that have been trafficked. For no valid reason I am not including the name of the organization.
Here are my notes from the tour:
The girls are rough. If more than 1 girl, then at least 2 volunteers need to be there. At the monthly dinner meeting, they must have quite a few people- to monitor them to make sure there is not too much drama- to make sure they do not spend too much time in the bathroom (doing drugs). I like this honesty- Their behaviors does not mean they deserve to be trafficked.
They installed a nursing room with a changing station. Now the girls have kids. They have a room of clothes for the girls to get a weeks worth. In the winter, they have warm clothes. They do not take donations and are not a thrift store because that is just more work for them.
If they need clothes to be dressed up in, they can provide that- send them to the thrift store downtown that is not open to the public.
The volunteers go to the “tracks’ of Milwaukee to get the girls boots and warm clothes. The pimps will bring them to the van and they give the items to the girls- gloves- hand warmers, sanitary wipes and hand sanitizers. They put hand warmers in their boots. They also give them granola bars.
When the founder of the organization began, she did her outreach in the back of her car, she gave them a goodie bag that included candy and junk food- because it has to be non parishable. Now they give them a tg maxx bag with items including a fleece blanket- volunteers make them- one side patterned and one side plain.
They have a cabinet with toiletries- also donated.
She has her OG – original girls- one of her first died a little after she testified against her pimp.
The director was asked by a police officer to help with a girl after a raid. Like many girls, she dealt the guys drugs so that they we were the ones busted.
This girl led to helping her in jail Now by word of mouth, girls refer other girls. However the women’s prison said you can’t just help the ones you want- you have to meet with the 1,000 women (if they want it). They can’t do that. Instead they have a pen pal program- a few pen pals for each girl to have contact and support.
One of the volunteers left the organization so that she could do a group in the prison. There is a rule. You can visit girls and be on the outside of the glass, or you can have a group and see them in prison, but you cannot do both.
The person doing the group eventually stopped. She said that girls would be in a group with other girls in the same stable or another stable and was not sure if they would get reported back to the pimp or what they other girls might end up saying.
The girls do not self-identify and do not easily give up their story.
They often return to being trafficked.
This is a hard situation. The organization does not see overnight sucess. But these women have been abused and taumatized. And the answer for dealing with people is always kindness..