Those who have experienced child trafficking and exploitation can be freed & restored only if effective aftercare is waiting for them. A decade ago, one of the first needs we encountered as an organization was the lack of safe places for children who were being rescued out of exploitation. We began by supporting and expanding existing safe homes throughout Asia. We opened our first safe home in 2008 and have only expanded our services since then. Becoming “free” from exploitation isn’t an event – it’s a journey. Love146 Survivor Care programs provide a place of safety and holistic care to facilitate that long-haul journey of recovery. We strive to see survivors become self sufficient and flourishing adults, integrated into their communities.
After much research, regional assessment, and survivor input, we believe one of the best contributions we can make toward caring for children is to journey with them as they leave exploitative situations. Many services exist, but few survivors of child trafficking have a trauma-informed advocate equipped to navigate these systems.
By journeying with youth as they receive services such as legal assistance and therapy, as well as helping them with safety planning and crisis intervention, we can help ensure they’re receiving the best possible care.
We’re also building a safe home that will provide recently identified survivors with emergency shelter and a safe environment.
Our Round Home in the Philippines is uniquely built and designed to facilitate the restoration and holistic health of every child entering its doors. A tree house is used for therapy sessions. A volleyball court is available to play on. There’s even a punching bag for children to work out their aggression. The physical structure of the Round Home is intended to promote reflectiveness, a sense of peace, freedom, dignity and self-esteem, as well as playfulness so that children can simply be children again.
The approach to running the home is attuned to the needs of the exploited and traumatized child, which include both the needs of ordinary children as well as children who have been wounded in many ways, lack hope, are broken, lack opportunities and self-worth. Therefore, the Round Home is characterized by efforts to keep the child safe and well provided for, instill hope, effect healing and restoration, promote growth and development, facilitate the release of potentials, and enable the child to come full circle, liberated from their traumas and sufferings, to realize their innate worth. The Round Home aims to be a safe base from which the girls can reside.
REINTEGRATION & FAMILY RECONCILIATION
Aftercare does not end when a girl leaves the Round Home. Love146 journeys with girls, aiming for a holistic reintegration into society. It has been commonly observed that when girls from safe homes are reintegrated into their communities, they either get re-trafficked or return to a community environment laced with shame issues, ongoing risk factors, family dysfunction, stereotypes, and taboos. Love146 works to bring families into the restoration process if possible, which sometimes requires locating lost family members.
We would like to make a difference by giving our reintegrated girls a better fighting chance. Our reintegration research has shown what they need, foremost of which are livelihood, education, and assistance in major life events. Like many Love146 programs, Reintegration is informed by and contributes to our growing body of research.
After years of supporting and expanding existing safe homes and providing direct care to dozens of girls journeying through recovery, we began working to reach street children who were at an incredibly high risk of being sexually exploited or who had already been trafficked.
We opened a feeding shelter in a community where we quickly learned slavery was thriving. Pedophiles were coming in day after day and renting children from impoverished and homeless parents.
Through this effort, Love146 began caring for girls who were later admitted to our Round Home. But boys also started to walk through our doors, asking for care. We knew we had to respond. We opened our Boys Shelter, being prepared through our years of work caring for survivors and our wealth of research about the sexual exploitation of boys.
Since opening its doors, the Love146 Boys Shelter has cared for at-risk and exploited boys in this specific community, providing them with holistic therapy, food, tuition, and medications, all to help them walk towards recovery and prevent any commercial sexual exploitation in the future.