PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT OUR JONAH PROJECT RESOURCE BINDER BY CLICKING ON THE .PDF LINK ABOVE! We see Compassionate Advocacy as a basic need for all human beings. It doesn’t have to be complicated; sometimes advocacy just means someone to walk through life with. Our team of advocates volunteer on school campuses, in homes, and through outreach to ensure the women and children in our community KNOW that we love them, and that we will do whatever it takes to keep them safe . For a victim of trauma or a trafficking survivor, advocacy is especially necessary as many people they will encounter in their lives will have no idea what kind of toll this trauma has taken on them. An advocate’s job BEGINS there. By walking alongside a survivor. By ensuring that they have access to resources so that they might be able to navigate life with the same opportunities as anyone else. What is an Advocate? An advocate can be the person to which a person turns when they are stressed and feel like they can’t go on. An advocate can be someone who ensures that other resource providers truly provide what they promised, AND do so safely, with the survivor’s freedom and best interests in mind. In all of this, the advocate holds the hand of a damaged human being and expresses God’s LOVE through Compassion.
Providing for lifelong needs The reality is that with no ability for relational trust to form or spiritual restoration to take place, our survivors may continue to struggle the rest of their lives with the trauma they have experienced. These young people have had their lives interrupted and freedom stripped away; traumatized to the point where they no longer see themselves as human beings capable of giving love or worthy of receiving it. It is vital that WE provide an environment that teaches them what FREEDOM really looks like.
Who provides resources? In our nation currently, it is most often faith-based (typically Christian) organizations that provide housing and aftercare for survivors, as opposed to our local government agencies and authorities. This is the reality. We should recognize the important role the faith community has played throughout history in freeing people! However, because much of the faith based community is insulated, and can be secretive about their methods, we have also seen negligence and mistreatment for profit. As “trafficking” becomes a national buzz-word this can be a double-edged sword. We need awareness – and we need to prize freedom for the survivors above all else.
The Importance of “Transparent” Aftercare We must be careful and loving with how we implement care. Our victims have already led a life where they have been used for profit. Often their trauma began when they were offered a place to stay or food in exchange for their loyalty. Our every effort must be to provide care that is LEVERAGE-FREE and based on the principle of FREEDOM. Victims and survivors should be empowered to play as active a role in their care as they possibly can, and to be encouraged to make their own free choices. If we subject a victim to a programmatic approach to healing, we may find victims “pimped out” for their testimonies or forced to undergo rituals they do not believe in or understand. Damage can be done by extended “black-out periods” where the survivors have no access to services, or other positive spheres of influence. The Jonah Project will continue to push with our platform and voice – for agencies to truly come together and put the survivor’s first. We will support and endorse other agencies that are open and honest about their aftercare as well. It is imperative that our aftercare is “transparent” and “trauma based.” In turn, we, as a community, need to begin to demand additional resources for aftercare from our local and civic leaders.