The REST Hotline
The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Skilled team members respond to calls or texts from individuals who are in need of assistance, or service providers and law enforcement who would like to make a referral. Through the hotline, we can provide emotional support and safety planning, and help survivors connect to the services they need.
“There’s a whole lifetime of this kind of stuff.”
Esmé’s abuse would continue even after she was married, and ultimately her sons suffered in the cult as well. A few years ago, when she began realizing that her husband was in communication with cult members, she knew she had to get out.
When her husband was away, she changed all the locks on the doors and was able to stay in her home—until cult members found her.
REST began with street outreach, and as the marketplace for the sex trade moved online, we shifted our efforts to text outreach using a platform that was developed in partnership with Seattle Against Slavery and Microsoft Hackathon volunteers. Through this platform, we have been able to offer services and provide a message of hope over 13,000 times to potential victims who were being advertised for sex online. When a major upheaval in the sex industry occurred in early 2018, we saw a significant shift back to street-based prostitution. In response, we relaunched our Street Outreach Team to offer relationship and services to individuals being exploited on the streets. Today, we operate both street and text outreach.
4,510 texts sent to potential victims
252 positive responses to those texts
286 potential victims contacted through outreach
“Someone from REST reached out to me.”
Before Wendy had left the sex trade for good, she had received texts from a woman at REST who had found her number through her online ads, offering relationship and services.
REST was able to support Wendy as she left the life she had known since she was 13. She deleted all of her contacts including her regulars, got rid of her “work” phone altogether, and moved away.
The Community Advocacy program provides assistance to people involved in or exiting the sex trade throughout King County. Advocates provide consistent relationships and case management to help individuals of any age or gender identify their needs, access resources, build a community of support, and reach the goals that are most important to them.
298 survivors received services from the Community Advocate team.
85 of them were enrolled into intensive case management.
With no income, Becky suddenly found herself homeless and without food—and she felt utterly lost. “I was making $1,500 a day. You know what’s in my pocket now? Bus fare. $1,500 to $2.75 is drastic—and I didn’t think there was gonna be any life after that.”
A few years before her breaking point, a friend from the sex trade told Becky about Mariya, her REST Advocate—someone who helped her access resources. Becky met with Mariya—but was deeply skeptical of her—how could she understand this life? Becky was also receiving messages through REST’s Text Outreach program—a constant reminder that REST was there.
And when Becky called, Mariya was able to respond and meet her where she was at—and they began working on Becky’s goals together.
REST Advocates help clients achieve hundreds of self-identified goals every year—including housing, employment, education, health, reunification with children, and many other goals that lead to self-sufficiency, including goals related to exiting the sex trade.
Goals Achieved by Clients
Goals were achieved by REST clients in FY19.
*Of those 1,059 goals, 796 were achieved by clients with the assistance of Community Advocates.
“I am the only woman that my little girl calls momma!”
Wendy left the sex trade once and for all when she was 36. She has been out for two years now. She’s clean from a 23-year addiction, has custody of her daughter, and is a published author. She’s still in touch with her REST Advocate—a woman she now considers a friend.
She knows now that she is loved.
Pathways Services Center
In 2015, REST opened the Drop-In Center which provided a safe space to rest, connect with other survivors, build a community of support, and get assistance accessing resources like housing, transportation, and more.
In early 2019, we expanded services offered at our Drop-In Center to include our newly-launched Integrated Health Clinic (IHC) allowing clients to access critical medical and mental health services on-site.
With both of these programs located under one roof (and more coming in FY20), we decided it was time to rename the Drop-In Center to incorporate all of the paths to freedom, safety, and hope that a survivor might find in that space.
Now, REST Drop-In services and the IHC are part of our Pathways Services Center.
251 survivors accessed our Drop-In services
Those 251 survivors accessed Drop-In services 2,954 times
Survivors returned to Drop-In an average of 11.7 times.
97 survivors attended workshops or support groups
Integrated Health Clinic
With a grant from the Pacific Hospital Preservation and Development Authority (PHPDA) Health Equity Fund, we were able to launch the Integrated Health Clinic (IHC) in January of 2019, offering mental health therapy, medical services, spiritual support, and peer engagement to survivors. This allows REST clients low-barrier access to critical health services with confidence that they’ll receive non-judgmental, trauma-informed care.
Here’s what we saw in our first six months of operation at the IHC:
51 clients were served
79% of them reduced their substance use with assistance from the IHC
90% of them experienced improvements to their physical health
74% of them experienced improvements to their mental health
“REST has supported me by being available and patient with me.”
The day she graduated inpatient treatment, Kate came to Seattle and met with her REST Advocate.
With the support of her family and friends who she’s since reconnected with—and REST—Kate is currently searching for housing opportunities and a stable living-wage job.
REST Emergency Shelter
Our low-barrier Emergency Shelter provides individual rooms for seven women to stay for 30–90 days. This is a place for women to rest, stabilize, and identify the next steps on their healing and recovery journey. For our shelter guests, we provide food and hygiene supplies, and assistance in accessing resources like medical care, mental health, and chemical dependency services. In FY19, we added a Housing Specialist to our shelter staff team, helping shelter guests find safe and stable housing for after their stay.
In FY19, the REST Emergency Shelter provided 2,390 bed nights to 53 unique guests.
Guests stayed on average of 44 days.
“To have somewhere to survive.”
The REST Shelter is typically a 30-day shelter, with the opportunity for extensions. Esmé stayed six months, as she sought a place to live where her identity would be protected.
She’s safe for now, looking to a future where she can reunite with her sons, support herself, help others who have endured similar things—and simply play her music without trauma-induced mental barriers.
The REST House
The REST House is a supportive, residential program for up to six women, ages 18–30, who are exiting the sex trade. Residents can be single, pregnant, or parenting. It is a recovery-oriented, individualized program that provides the warmth of a home and the time needed to prepare for greater independence. Residents can stay up to a year, and participate in supportive services like trauma counseling and case management while pursuing life goals that are most important to them.
In FY19, the REST House provided 1,389 bed nights to 11 unique guests.
As survivors seek their paths to freedom, safety, and hope, they often start by experiencing “interruptions” (1–29 days out of the sex trade). Then, those interruptions last a little longer—and eventually, as they stabilize, they’re more empowered and equipped to maintain life outside of the sex trade.
In FY19, REST helped 120* individuals experience rest from the sex trade, with 13 clients reaching one full year out.
*Because REST collaborates with multiple local agencies to both serve clients and track this data, we know some contributing data is missing, and this number is likely underreported.
“I just want them to know that they’re not alone.”
Christina Reid has been working in non-profits in the Seattle area for over 25 years. Her passion for this work is deeply rooted in her own childhood experiences with homelessness and living in shelters. She felt the strength of her Samoan family at home, but as a person of color in an under-served community, often felt alone and unsupported outside of her Samoan community.
Christina’s lifetime of knowledge informs her role as the REST Emergency Receiving Center Supervisor. As the team leader for REST’s seven-bed, low-barrier shelter, and 24/7 Hotline, she strives to create spaces where everyone has the opportunity to rest, breathe—and know that they belong and are loved—just as they are.
“It takes some time, especially at a low-barrier shelter, [for a guest] to begin to accomplish things. It starts with meeting basic needs—and once they’ve had those basic needs met, and they stabilize a little—they’re more open to seeing what they need to work on today, and how to move forward.”
The constant flux in a shelter environment, paired with the instability of many guests’ mental and emotional states due to extreme trauma and chemical dependency among other challenges, can lead to heartbreaking situations—like when someone voluntarily returns to their trafficker. Christina describes how she holds these difficult, and painful moments in perspective:
“I have to hope and trust that everything I do when I’m here is a planted seed. I have to hope that things will turn around—and I just have to continue to be faithful to do what I was called to do—and that’s just to love on people.”
She tells the story of one guest who had to leave for breaking a safety rule, yet came back and reapplied a week later, repeating one of the refrains used in our Thrive Survivor Support Group weeks earlier: “I deserve to be loved!”—and wound up staying for a full 90 days as she rested and made progress on her healing journey.
Looking Toward the Future
At REST, we know through our decade of walking alongside survivors that relapses back into the sex trade are significantly more likely for survivors who are unable to secure and maintain a reliable, living-wage job that allows them to sustain their housing and meet their own basic needs.
This year, we’re working toward launching the REST Economic and Leadership Empowerment Academy. It will provide job readiness training, paid internships, leadership development, and employment placement services. It is the next step in building skills and confidence within survivors to secure and keep employment that leads to economic self-sufficiency.
This program will become part of our Pathways Services Center—a unified space where survivors can receive much-needed, ongoing services and care, no matter where they are in their journey.
The four pillars of the REST Academy are:
In our first full year of operation, we hope to see 24 survivors complete the academy program, offer 16 paid internships at REST, and help 100 survivors secure employment.
“When I dream about a life, I dream about freedom.”
Kate spent three years of her life having every aspect controlled by her trafficker. Freedom to her looks a lot like choosing what she’s going to eat, wear, or do day-to-day—it looks like freedom to be herself: determined, hopeful, and strong.
She’s still overcoming challenges, turning to her support systems including her friends, family, REST, and AA communities to help her stay focused. She takes it one day at a time—sometimes, when it’s overwhelming, 15 minutes at a time.