Hope Refuge is dedicated to seeing that every sex trafficking survivor has a place of refuge where they can transition from slavery to freedom.
To provide a retreat center where programs and services can be offered and to address the trauma, abuse, abandonment, and neglect of a sex trafficking survivor.
Hope Refuge Inc. is a nonprofit organization in Santa Barbara County, California established in 2013 in response to the growing awareness of the crisis in America involving children and young adults who are being trafficked in the commercial sex industry. Hope Refuge was founded to see exploited children ages 12 to 17 and young adults in America set free and move forward into a healthy, productive life. Hope Refuge believes that every person deserves to be free and that, as a community, we are responsible for protecting and caring for our children and the most vulnerable.
It is the vision of Hope Refuge to provide for one of the greatest needs of these girls: a safe place where they can be restored and healed. In view of this goal, Hope Refuge is one of the largest facilities licensed Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program specifically for 12 to 17 year-old girls who have been sex trafficked in the USA. Hope Refuge provides support for 24 survivors who, for six months or more, will be part of our full-service, live-in center and be provided with counseling, therapeutic care, education, and a fun and loving environment. All of these will take place in our beautiful mountain facility located in 214 acres in the mountains of Santa Barbara, California filled with oak woodlands, rolling hills, and stunning ocean views.
The overarching goal of Hope Refuge is to create a caring environment and supportive community in which trafficking survivors can heal from the trauma of abuse, abandonment, and neglect. Through the programs, and in the context of a caring community, they will have an opportunity to discover their passions and gifts. Our hope is to see them empowered to think forward towards a future where their dreams and unique potential can be personally realized and shared with others.
WHY SUPPORT US?
THESE ARE OUR CHILDREN
THE AVERAGE AGE OF ENTRY INTO THE SEX TRADE INDUSTRY IN THE USA IS JUST 12 YEARS OLD.
(US Department of Justice, Child Exploration and Obscenity Section)
Are you aware of the crises in America? Click to learn more.
- The average age of entry into the commercial sex industry in the U.S. is 12 years old. (U.S. Department of Justice, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section)
- 1 in 3 teens will be recruited by a pimp within 48 hours of leaving home and becoming homeless.
- At least 100,00 to 300,000 American youth are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation annually in the U.S. (Estes and Wiener, 2001)
- Once a minor, who is a victim of the sex traffic trade, is identified and rescued, there are few appropriate safe placements and homes available for them. (National Report on Domestic Sex Trafficking)
- Human trafficking involves the act of recruiting, transporting, harboring, or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion, or other means for the purposes of exploiting them.
- After drugs, the trafficking of humans ranks second as the most common organized crime generating billions of dollars a year. (UN)
- The Federal Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 defines sex trafficking as “a commercial sex act induced by force, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such acts has not attained 18 years of age.”
- The majority of those trafficked are women and children, with minors under the age of 18 being the most vulnerable (Congressional Research Services Report to Congress).
- 80-90 percent of sexually exploited children have a history of child sexual abuse.
- The National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Throwaway (NISMART) children estimate that 1.6 million children run away from home each year in the U.S.
THE NEED FOR PROGRAMS AND SAFE FACILITIES
The “National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking” states that there are a few facilities in the U.S. with programs that specifically address the complex issues that a sexually trafficked child faces. It is estimated that there are thousands of children in Los Angeles and Orange counties alone who are victims of sex trafficking. The “National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking” further states that more than 100,000 minors are being trafficked for sex in many major cities across the U.S. There are limited resources available to help survivors break free from the cycle of commercial sexual exploitation. Facilities that provide safety for survivors traumatized by the abuse in the sex traffic industry are critical.
BE AWARE OF HOW YOU CAN BE GROOMED FOR
HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?
The commercial sexual exploitation of children and youth in our country is a complex and difficult issue to understand. Many often ask, “How does a child or youth get involved and trapped in forced prostitution?” One of the most common ways is through coercion and manipulation, otherwise known as “grooming”. Listed below are some of the tactics that are utilized by predators (pimps) to take advantage of a young person as well as signs that someone is being “groomed”. Please read this and pass it on.
BE AWARE OF HOW YOU CAN BE GROOMED
What is grooming?
Grooming is a process by which victims are lured. How does a trafficker do this? By befriending and building trust with you. A trafficker will take a special interest in you to create a relationship. This is generally in the form of a relationship as a boyfriend/girlfriend, as a mentor, or as a friend.
They tend to use secrecy, blame, gifts, or threats of violence to keep you from telling somebody. They are doing this because they know if you tell someone what they are doing that they will no longer have power or control over you.
AM I BEING GROOMED?
- Have they ever said, “If you love me, you’d do it?”
- Have they ever said “Everyone else is doing it?”
- Have you ever been put down for your values or found your values being challenged?
- Do you feel more isolated since being in this relationship?
- Do they give you gifts or do things for you that may seem excessive?
- Do they provide you with alcohol or drugs?
- Do they have a permanent address?
- Are there other women living in their house?
- Do they encourage you to meet with them by yourself or in secret?
- Have you met their family or friends?
- Do they have a regular job that they discuss with you and go to?
- Do you find yourself being pressured into saying or doing things that make you feel uncomfortable?
- Have they created any secrecy around your relationship?
- Have they ever asked about your sexual experiences, any fantasies you have, or how you might feel about doing certain sexual things?
- Do they ask you to be on video/webcam so they can see your private parts?
- Have they somehow gained access to things that you have not shared with them?
- Are they offering to get you a job? Even a job out of town?
VALUES AND BOUNDARIES
Knowing your values and boundaries will help you when you feel under pressure. Think through each question and know how to respond. This will prepare you for healthy relationships.
“If you love me, you’d do it.” No. If you love me, you (a) wouldn’t have just said that, and (b) would respect my decision.
“Everyone else is doing it.” Well, I’m not everyone else.
“You’re square.” No. I’m just comfortable with who I am and what I want.
Remember, being groomed is generally under the disguise of your boyfriend or girlfriend. If your answer is yes to any of these questions, find a person whom you can trust (best if they are adult) and be transparent with them about your relationship. If you have even the slightest uneasiness about the relationship, reach out to that trusted person for help.
WHAT ARE SOME INDICATORS FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING?
Indicators for human trafficking?
- Living with employer
- Poor living conditions
- Inability to speak to any individual alone
- Employer is holding identity documents
- Unpaid or paid very little
- Signs of physical abuse
- Submissive or fearful
- They have a tattoo (i.e. “Daddy”, $ sign, a crown, money bag, bar code)
- Under 18 and in prostitution
- Answers appear to be scripted and rehearsed
WAYS YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
Share your expertise with Hope Refuge and find out how you can leverage your time, talent, and philanthropic resources to combat sex slavery
Bring our trafficking awareness campaign to schools, churches, or organizations
Start your own awareness & fundraising campaign
Hope Refuge Inc. is a 501c3 nonprofit organization established in 2013 in response to the growing awareness of the crisis in America involving children and young adults who are being trafficked in the commercial sex industry. There are thousands of American-born children and youth who are being sold for sex in many cities across America. There are few resources that address the trauma experienced by those who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
Hope Refuge offers the following projects and programs:
- Day Wellness Retreats
- Weekend Respite Retreats
- Week-Long Residential Camps
In collaboration with state and local agencies as well as anti-trafficking organizations, Hope Refuge hosts retreats and camps for trafficking survivors. The goal is to provide an opportunity for those affected by the abuse of trafficking to retreat to a beautiful natural setting that is safe, peaceful, and nurturing. These events will incorporate opportunities to relax, recreate, learn, and participate in times of focused therapy to address the unique issues associated with their restoration journey. The camps are hosted at a beautiful retreat center located in 214 acres of oak woodlands and rolling hills with stunning views of the ocean. It is a perfect natural environment to find healing and rest and begin dreaming and preparing for a hope-filled future.
WHAT SURVIVORS AND ADVOCATES ARE SAYING ABOUT HOPE REFUGE:
“I wanted to thank you for having us up to the camp this past weekend. You truly made it an extraordinary trip. Our girls had so much fun and are so excited for the upcoming adventures that are only possible through this experience. You are all amazing in the work that you do and we couldn’t be happier to have been a part of this journey with you. [The girls] shared their interests in going back and helping make this camp/program a success for all survivors and victims who attend. My partner … and I are amazed at how much can be utilized and how much there is to offer our clients. We hope to be able to partner with you again to help make your vision into a reality…. Thank you.”
A.D., EMPOWERMENT ADVOCATE 2016
1 in 3*
*One in three teens will be recruited by a pimp within 48 hours of leaving home and becoming homeless.
EMPOWER A SURVIVOR
You can sponsor a survivor to join our programs.
Many survivors rarely have the opportunity to get away and experience a peace and restorative environment, such as the beautiful natural setting that Hope Refuge offers. You can support a survivor on their journey to restoration.
GET IN TOUCH
Let us know if you would like to get involved with a new or an existing project.