In San Francisco, homelessness is a huge issue, especially for those who are vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking. For survivors of sexual exploitation and trafficking, finding a safe place to stay can be incredibly challenging. According to the International Labor Organization, women and girls account for 99% of all victims of forced sexual exploitation globally. Females are often marginalized and disregarded by social service providers. By providing gender-specific safe houses and specialized services, organizations like San Francisco SafeHouse, can help address the unique needs of female survivors of sex trafficking, support their healing and recovery, and help them rebuild their lives.
Our amazing client, San Francisco SafeHouse (SFSH), is the only residential program in the city that is specifically designed to serve this population. It is also one of the few that exist in America. SFSH has helped 100% of their graduates find housing and reported 600+ women received safe housing and provided 90,000+ nights of safety since 1998. We are so proud of their team for establishing a safe and supportive environment for women to recover from their experiences and live happy, healthy, and independent lives!
The organization's focus is providing safe housing for women. Gender-specific responses are incredibly important when it comes to addressing chronic homelessness. This is because homelessness affects men and women differently, and women are often more vulnerable to violence and exploitation while living on the streets. They have several programs, including a short-term emergency shelter and a longer-term transitional housing program. In addition to housing, they also provide case management, counseling, legal advocacy, and job training. They work closely with survivors to develop a game plan that meets their unique needs and goals.
Another reason SFSH is so special is its commitment to providing equity and ensuring that all women who are survivors of sexual exploitation and trafficking have access to the support and resources they need to heal and rebuild their lives. Their programs and services are designed to be inclusive and accessible to all survivors, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status. Survivors can even stop by during their drop-in hours with no appointment needed. The staff members undergo ongoing training and offer community training to ensure equity for all survivors. In addition, SFSH has implemented a survivor leadership program that provides opportunities for survivors to become leaders in their communities and advocate for change. By prioritizing equity and inclusion, they are working to create a world where all survivors can access the support they need to thrive.
Helping A Loved One
If you suspect that a loved one may be a victim of sex trafficking or exploitation, it is crucial to approach the situation with care and sensitivity. You don’t want to put them or yourself in danger. It is important to approach the situation without judgment or blame and to listen to the person's story with empathy and understanding. If they are willing to seek help, provide emotional support and offer to accompany them to appointments and meetings with service providers. It is important to respect their wishes and not pressure them into taking any actions they are uncomfortable with. Remember that healing and recovery can be a long and challenging process, and survivors may need ongoing support and encouragement. By simply offering your love and support, you can help your loved one take steps toward healing and reclaiming their life.
"So, there is something huge that I've been ignoring for years - ME. I matter.
What I say and do matters. I have learned this thanks to SafeHouse.
SafeHouse is saving our lives. SafeHouse is saving our souls. We count.
Nobody is disposable. Nobody is a waste. We all deserve a second chance.
I am finally getting all the help I always needed.
At thirty-nine, I'm being re-parented by loving angels. I'm safe."
- San Francisco SafeHouse Resident
Do you want to help support this tremendous cause? Click here for ways to get involved!
If you or someone you know need immediate support, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888) or 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.