20 Dec Life After Abuse: Rose’s Story
When Rose first arrived at WTLC’s shelter, she was very guarded. She shared very little with her Advocates about her life—just that she was being forced to work as an escort and was ready to leave this exploitative situation behind. She had been referred to WTLC by her case manager at Waymakers but was having trouble adjusting to life in the shelter.
Rose kept to herself, did not participate in any group activities, and would often miss her counseling appointments. When she did meet with her Advocates, she often expressed feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated.
Then something changed…
Rose made an appointment to meet with WTLC’s Human Trafficking Specialist. They sat down—along with both her Shelter Advocate and her Clinical Advocate—to assess Rose’s barriers, identify long-term goals, and develop a plan. Rose explained that her priority was finding a stable living arrangement, so her Advocates helped lay out achievable short-term goals that would help her find the self-sufficiency she was looking for. Rose opened up to her Advocates to share that their support made her feel cared for and gave her the motivation to “make something of [her]self.”
After this meeting, Rose began attending her counseling appointments regularly and joined a Personal Empowerment Program class, where she worked to find empowerment with the support of other survivors. Just a few weeks later, she enrolled in a continuation school to work towards completing her GED and lower division college courses. She applied for and was awarded financial aid, and by the end of the month she had also found a job.
Every completed short-term goal kept Rose motivated and gave her the desire to keep working towards her future. She continued to have difficult days, but with the help of her Advocates, she learned to identify when she was having a “Bad Day” so she could reach out for help instead of trying to push through alone. Rose explained that she was starting to feel comfortable asking for help because she had learned that she was worthy of support and knew she was in a safe place where she wouldn’t be judged. As WTLC’s Advocates continued to build rapport and trust with Rose, she eventually shared that she had a son who she hadn’t seen in three years. She decided that she wanted to include him in her goals and was ready to take the necessary steps to reunite with him.
Human trafficking survivors go through incredible trauma and abuse. They don’t easily trust people with their story, finding it difficult to ask for help for fear that this will open themselves up to further abuse. Once Rose felt safe and understood that she could trust the Advocates of WTLC, she was able to share her story, address her needs, and identify her barriers. In collaboration with her Advocates, she was able to break down those barriers and successfully reach her goals.
If you would like more information about human trafficking or the services WTLC offers human trafficking survivors, please visit our website at www.wtlc.org or call our 24-hour hotline at (877) 531-5522.