There are many honorable organizations currently fighting sex trafficking and prostitution: A21, International Justice Mission, REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade), Exodus Cry, Dressember, Polaris, Shared Hope International, and End Slavery Now. These are just some of the organizations working to end modern slavery. Each is contributing to end this blight on our culture and world. Millions of dollars pour into this cause every year.
So why is Peoria Home a worthy non-profit to support?
Peoria Home is a two-year holistic residential recovery program for women affected by sex trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. Peoria Home in Everett, WA is modeled after Thistle Farms' Magdalene Program in Nashville, Tennessee. Peoria Home offers women a place to belong and thrive, receive necessary treatment and therapy to process their pasts, and learn new skills that will help them succeed.
In the world of trafficking and prostitution, it is common for survivors to return to the life as a means to support themselves or because of their relationship with their trafficker. Peoria Home provides the physical and emotional safety that will help prevent a woman returning to the life.
Peoria Home is local.
Sex trafficking and prostitution is happening right around you, Everett. When I realized that prostitution wasn't some far off thing, it completely changed my view. It made this issue that feels so big and overwhelming, a little smaller and easier to handle. It isn't one big organization that will end slavery. It will take the coordination of many people, organizations, and details.
Supporting Peoria Home is one way we can affect change for good right in our backyard, because it's certain that trafficking and prostitution are happening all around us.
Peoria Home is long-term.
Women exiting the life need long-term care. The effects of the trauma of their experiences will follow them their entire lives in one for or another and Peoria Home offers a safe and supportive place for survivors to heal.
In the last several years, I have spent considerable time trying to understand why I am frequently afraid or anxious, or why I so quickly go to anger when I am frustrated or stressed. A lot of the reasons were effects of past experience, and I wouldn't qualify much of my experience as trauma. (Perhaps secondary trauma.) At times it has taken all my energy to get through the day.
Women affected by prostitution have likely experienced trauma. And healing takes time, which Peoria Home provides.
Peoria Home is a home, not a house.
There are a lot of social services that survivors can access and Peoria Home helps to coordinate such services AND provide a home, not a house.
These two words have different, profound meanings.
A house is a building.
A home is a place one lives, a place in which one builds a life, not merely exists.
I was considering the word "home" the other day. My family got home from a full morning and afternoon, and we all had something we were working on. I started making dinner. My kids played with a new toy. No one was talking, except chatter here and there. We were all comfortable together in our homes. We could be ourselves. That is what a home does.
When I considered that there are women without homes, without protection and safety and care, that's how I answered the "Why Peoria Home" question for myself.
Why Peoria Home? How would you answer? I'd love to hear!