What’s the Problem?
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world. It is the recruitment of people by means of threat, force, coercion or deception for the purpose of exploitation. Sex trafficking is one of the most profitable forms of trafficking and involves many kinds of sexual exploitation, such as prostitution, pornography and the commercial sexual abuse of children. What you may not know is that sex trafficking is not just something that takes place in 3rd world nations, but also happens to US citizens residing within U.S. borders.
The Department of Justice estimates that more than 250,000 American children are at risk for trafficking into the sex industry annually and the average age of girls who enter into street prostitution is between 12 and 14 years old. Sex traffickers target vulnerable young girls, such as runaway, homeless, and foster care children. Incest and other forms of abuse often drive children to run away from home, making them vulnerable to the cunning tactics of sex traffickers. In fact, 1 in 3 runaways are recruited by a pimp with in 48 hours of leaving home.
Our Response: Real Escape from the Sex Trade (REST)
REST was founded in 2009 by a group of men and women who wanted to take action against the commercial sexual exploitation of girls and young women in Seattle, WA. We work to provide a path to freedom, safety and hope for victims of sex trafficking and people involved in the sex trade. REST has the following teams:
Direct Outreach Teams
Women and girls may be forced or coerced into prostitution on the streets, through the internet, in strip clubs, massage parlors, or bikini barista stands. The REST direct outreach teams go into a variety of these venues to offer help and hope to women and girls who may be victims of sex trafficking. A consistent presence and a visible opportunity for help in areas of sex trafficking are crucial to building relationships and providing a way of escape.
The Jail Outreach Team meets at the Juvenile detention center one night a week with girls who are under 18 years old. These girls are certainly at-risk for entering prostitution, though many of them have already been sexually exploited. This team offers to connect the girls with mentors who commit to stay involved in their lives, help them experience healthy relationships, and access resources that will contribute to their success.
The presence and support of a mentor can make a significant difference in a young woman’s life. REST mentors commit to spending time with and offering guidance to girls who are in the process of leaving the sex trade. Mentors will receive thorough training and be matched with a girl who is connected to one of the direct outreach teams and is requesting a mentor. This program is a partnership with Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.
The REST House is a transitional living program for girls, ages 18-24, who are escaping a life of sexual exploitation and want to pursue a new life and accomplish their dreams. In our family environment, each girl will receive counseling, wraparound services, opportunity for education and job training, and life skills classes. Young women can stay for up to two years.
It is estimated that 10-15% of men have purchased a sex act, with some men soliciting prostitution daily. The John Intercession Model (JIM) has been developed to help men stop buying sex from women and children. The Demand Reduction team connects with men who buy sex in places where prostitution is frequently solicited and offers help and counseling.
Interceding on behalf of everyone involved in the sex industry is a very important part of how we serve. Prayer partners are those who commit to pray regularly for girls, women, and men in the sex-trade. We also have a prayer team that meets nearly every Friday night to pray together.
Contact Us | Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to get involved and join one of these teams.