This piece first appeared on the Giving Circles Fund Blog on 8/18/2015 at http://givingcirclesfund.org/blog/guest-grantee-blog-post-saving-innocence/
GUEST BLOG POST: SAVING INNOCENCE
We are so excited to have Amber Davies from Saving Innocence guest blogging for us today! Amber is the Director of Clinical Programs at Saving Innocence, a nonprofit that our EPIP Los Angeles giving circle granted to last year. We love to keep in touch with past GCF grantees, and are excited to share what’s happening at Saving Innocence with our community.
Saving Innocence received a grant of over $2,000 from the EPIP Los Angeles giving circle last year to continue our work with commercially sexually exploited children. Saving Innocence works with children ages 11-17 who have been exploited in Los Angeles County, and we have worked with 250 children since starting this work in 2010. With a team of case managers and advocates, Saving Innocence helps survivors of sex trafficking to process their trauma and reach their goals.
The Need: The location and appeal of Los Angeles makes the city ideal for traffickers. While some of the highest volume of calls to national trafficking hotlines come from California, it is suspected that there are many more children who remain on the streets or stuck in trafficking situations. Our records indicate that 60-75% of the children who are being trafficked have had some contact with The Department of Children and Family Services, which we interpret to mean that pimps prey on the most vulnerable children seeking belonging and acceptance to make money for them.
Saving Innocence’s Work: There are currently 70 children whom Saving Innocence supports on their journey to restoration. We work with youth through advocacy and case management to help them reach their goals and come to a place of healing from their trauma. We offer workshops and psychoeducational groups that create opportunities for youth to build relationships and learn life skills that will support their long-term success. Saving Innocence participates in Los Angeles County’s First Responder Protocol which creates an immediate response within 90 minutes of a child being found in a trafficking situation. We are able to bring a humanitarian bag with a change of clothes, hygiene items, a blanket, stuffed animal, and coloring book. It is one of the most amazing things when we see the survivors pull out the stuffed animal first and hold onto it for comfort in a very difficult situation. It is such a reminder that these are children, and that after suffering so many traumas, all they need is comfort.
From the EPIP Giving Circle: We love the idea of the survivors having a circle of support around them as they rebuild their lives and social circles after they come out of a trafficking situation. We love that Giving Circles Fund helps to create awareness and community around giving towards such important causes. With funds from the EPIP Los Angeles giving circle we have been able to support the kids whom we work with to complete intervention workshops, celebrate graduations, birthdays, and baby showers as well as attend life skills workshops at the Hope House. We are so thankful for the support and we would love to stay connected to help our survivors thrive!
Thanks for keeping us in the loop about the amazing work being done at Saving Innocence, Amber! If you’re interested in learning more about Saving Innocence check out their website at www.savinginnocence.org or email [email protected].