12 Feb “TRUpers” Lift Their Voice
January was Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and Dr. Katrina Mallory, Program Director of TRU Harbor, along with her staff, wanted to do something special. “We asked the TRUpers (a.k.a. clients) what information they thought would be helpful to share with the community.” Their answer was simple: “our voices.” One TRUper couldn’t wait to be the first to share, and within five minutes, she had written a poem. Another, as she so often does, lifted her voice through painting.
Their voices are not going unheard. The YOC’s TRU Harbor program was created for clients just like them; girls who are survivors of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. Open since July of 2018, the program has had much success and enjoyed the support of the local community. Still, there is a lot of work to be done in terms of spreading awareness throughout the state and getting appropriate help to those that need it. Dispelling the myths associated with human trafficking is crucial.
“Human trafficking trends indicate that most youth are trafficked by individuals in their family and community,” says Dr. Mallory. “Although people typically think of a formal male ‘pimp’ when it comes to a trafficker, we’ve seen an increase in youth being recruited and trafficked by young adult females. This is a complicated issue to tackle because the reality is that many of these females were youth when they entered the game and may have been forced to recruit young girls.”
For a comprehensive resource on the issue, click the link for the 2020 Indiana State Report on Human Trafficking written by the Office of the Attorney General and the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking.
In addition to serving girls who are human trafficking survivors, TRU Harbor also accepts those who have a history of engaging in high-risk sexual behavior, pornography, and online exploitation. The program is currently accepting referrals. For more information or to submit a referral, contact Dr. Katrina Mallory at: KMallory@yocinc.org.