My name is Caroline. I am the Acting Director of Jewish Child Care Association’s Gateways Program, a specialized residential treatment program for commercially sexually exploited girls.
Here is the story of Yolanda, one of the girls we have helped.
Beaten and abused at home, Yolanda ran away, only be led unwittingly into the commercial sex industry where she was brutalized by her pimp and hospitalized for her injuries. Eventually, she came to JCCA’s Gateways Program. The program offered her services, structure, and caring therapists. She thrived and emerged as a leader, began to perform well academically, gained in self-esteem, and is now living with her mother. She says, “Gateways helped me discover my full abilities and the real meaning of love and trust.
Programs like Gateways change lives. We help young women overcome abuse and exploitation and start on a new path.
But vulnerable girls like Yolanda need your help.
Last year, the NY State Legislature funded the Safe Harbour Act, which provides critically needed intervention, services, and housing for teens who have been sexually trafficked.
The program needs more support.
In New York State, there are thousands of teens who are commercially sexually exploited every year. Yet there are less than 50 beds statewide for trafficked youth and a limited number of qualified service providers.
Help Yolanda and teens like her! Send this letter TODAY to Speaker Silver, Majority Leader Skelos, Governor Cuomo, and your State Senator and State Assembly Member and ask for $3 million to fund the Safe Harbour Act.
We urge you to appropriate $,3,000,000 for this important program, including:
$1,500,000 for direct intervention services such as counseling, respite care, case management, mental health services, and other support.
$500,000 for Law Enforcement Training to train police to identify sexually exploited youth and refer them to services and shelters.
$1,000,000 for Crisis Beds. Commercially sexually exploited youth need crisis housing to extricate themselves from their traffickers and provide them with a safe place to stay.
Thank you for your consideration.