A friend of mine is planning a fundraiser for Children's HopeChest for the fall 2008. She specifically asked me about sex trafficking in Russia, since that's something I'm researching for my upcoming book.
You can check out some of the information I'm collecting for my research on this page, and also see how CHC is specifically addressing trafficking issues in Russia through our programs focused on prevention and restoration of relationship and family resources. I've re-posted the information below:
SEX TRAFFICKING, ORPHANS, AND RUSSIA
On my recent trip to Russia, I shared with you the story of two girls--one who chose to live at a Children's HopeChest Family Center, and another who did not. The girl who chose to go her own was found dead in a ditch on the road from Moscow to Vladimir. She was working that major highway as a prostitute. The girl on the right is the one who was found dead.
I've created this page as a resource and a request.
Sex trafficking in Russia is real, and orphan girls are at high risk of being sold as forced prostitutes either within Russia or sent abroad. Forced prostitution in Russia has exploded after the economic boom of the past few years. It's hard to get accurate statistics, but Russia's leading anti-trafficking organization estimates that 500,000 Russian women have been trafficked to more than 40 countries over the past ten years.
The video below is a 2008 news story about sex trafficking in Russia. The lead story is of an orphaned girl lured into prostitution by the promise of big bucks in the big city of St. Petersburg. This short segment helps convey the depth and breadth of what is happening to Russia's young girls.
Children's HopeChest works with one of the most vulnerable population groups affected by human trafficking: orphan girls.
No one chooses prostitution as a career choice. They are lured by empty promises of predatory crime lords, or forced there by circumstances beyond their control. Either way, orphan girls in Russia represent a prime target for many traffickers. With no family and no support...who will miss these girls when they are gone?
Children's HopeChest provides a variety of programs that help divert girls from trafficking, by focusing on prevention and awareness. There are several levels of support:
1) Orphanage Intervention: Through our orphanage sponsorship program, young girls living in the orphanage are brought into relationship with caring Christian mentors. Funded by a sponsoring church or business, these "disciplers" model the love of Christ and a healthy lifestyle for many girls to follow. This foundation of trust makes future interventions much easier.
One of the key programs we have at this level is the "Life at the CrossRoads" curriculum. Through a strategic partnership with CrossRoads International, a division of Campus Crusade for Christ, Children's HopeChest disciplers are trained to teach a 30-week character education and HIV/AIDS prevention curriculum. While Africa captures much of the attention on AIDS, this video news clip shows the link between prostitution and the rapid rise of HIV infections in Russia. [Warning: There are some shots of women in brothels and in various states of undress or inappropriate dress. It's all pixel-out, but wanted to warn you before clicking the link].
Right now, Children's HopeChest has finished a 2-year study of the Life at the CrossRoads material, and found it highly successful within our population group. The focus is on teaching young girls the value of having strong core beliefs and character that guides decision-making. Jesus is studied as a role model within the context of relevant information about HIV and its impact.
2. Transitional Living Support: Once a child ages out of the orphanage, they are left on their own often without much support. Children's HopeChest offers three programs to help young women avoid sexual trafficking:
- Ministry Centers: These multi-faceted community centers provide daily programming to connect girls to mentors, counselors, peers, and activities to keep them in school and on a healthy path toward adulthood. Each Center is fully staffed by Russian believers who provide the classes, run the computer lab, and maintain the dental clinic.
- Family Centers: These small group homes (for boys OR girls) help younger teens find placement within a family setting with a set of Christian houseparents. The overall goal of the program is to provide a model of family, restore some of what the children have lost in the abandonment process, and teach independent living skills. Family Centers have a 98 percent success rate.
- Independent Living Centers: For the right older children, Children's HopeChest helps arrange apartment rentals with oversight from a counselor to help them practice living on their own. This helps slow the transition to adulthood as they "practice" what real life is like. These opportunities help them finish school and find employment.
3. Young Mothers Program: The Young Mothers program is operated out of the Ministry Centers and ministers to between 20-30 young moms per center. These are orphans who have made poor choices and find themselves pregnant and without the resources to get themselves back on their feet. Given that 1/3 of current orphans are children/grandchildren of orphans, Children's HopeChest is actively working with these young women to ensure they can acquire good parenting skills for the future. This often involves direct support of the mother and her child, counseling, mentorship, and family dynamics classes.
Each of these three outreaches helps girls avoid sexual trafficking in Russia. We focus on the prevention side and provide women with the opportunities and resources to make themselves successful in life. Think of it like your own daughters...
You want them to stay in school so they can get into a good college, find a good job, and eventually get married and start a family of their own. Right?
This is our dream for every young girl in Children's HopeChest's many programs. You can help at a variety of levels, and here's how:
- A gift of $480 provides a young woman with a mentor at one of our Ministry Centers for one year. Through this program you can specifically choose a young woman to sponsor and start a personal relationship with her.
- A gift of $700 provides one girl with services at a CHC Ministry Center for one year. These funds help operate the entire Ministry Center, and right now we are serving orphans for approximately $700/kid/year.
- A gift of $1,000 provides one month of services to 20 young mothers at a CHC Ministry Center ($12,000 for the entire year).
- A gift of $2,000 will provide one young woman with a year's worth of living expenses in our Family Center or Independent Living Program ($10,000 per home or apartment/year)
To launch new programs is also an option. Right now it costs CHC a minimum of $100,000 to add a new home or apartment to our programs. A new Ministry Center would require at least $500,000. This is mainly due to the sharp increase in real estate throughout Russia.CLICK HERE TO GIVE NOW
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Thank you for helping us help the girls of Russia avoid trafficking and poor choices before that cycle starts.