We’re launching The REST Academy, a program for the economic empowerment of survivors. It will provide job readiness training, paid internships, leadership development, and employment placement services.
At REST, it seems like we’re always up to something big: a resident finishes school and gains a degree, a survivor joins our support group and finds a meaningful community or we celebrate another survivor who has successfully escaped the sex trade for 30 days, 6 months or a year. These last few months have been no different. There is a lot to catch up on, and so much to celebrate!
Five years ago, God gave our founders dreams of building relationships with girls and young women who were trafficked for commercial sex. Our hope was to build trust, so they would feel safe enough to identify the things they needed to begin a life free from sexual exploitation.
In 2011, sex buyers tipped their hands and disclosed what they believed would dissuade them from using women involved in prostitution. In the comprehensive study, Comparing Sex Buyers with Men Who Don’t Buy Sex Melissa Farley, PHD, Founding Director of Prostitution Research and Education, and Peter Qualliotine, co-founder of the Organization for Prostitution Survivors (OPS), interviewed over 100 sex buyers in hopes of discovering, among other things, any deterrents that would be effective.
I imagine most of you who attended REST’s Sex Trafficking & the Gospel event this past weekend are still considering the powerful teachings presented. I am, too. In fact, I’ve spent the weekend pondering the sharp, yet truthful words shared by Reverend Eugene Cho, “We love justice until there’s a cost.”