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…LifeWay Network & Covenant House Partner to Support Human Trafficking Survivors
New York – Dec. 18, 2013 –
LifeWay Network and Covenant House New York have been named finalists in the first round of the Partnership for Freedom Reimagine Opportunity Challenge, a competition seeking innovative ideas to better care for survivors of modern-day slavery in the United States.
LifeWay and Covenant House have joined together to submit a concept that would establish the Home for Healing in New York, a safe house for trafficked, homeless and runaway youth. The ultimate goal and concept is to use underutilized properties to one day create a network of safe homes throughout the United States. The LifeWay/Covenant House proposal also addresses the critical issue of economic self-sufficiency and independence for survivors through job training, mentorship, internship and employment opportunities with committed corporate partners.
“We are very excited about this new opportunity,” said Sister Joan Dawber, Executive Director of LifeWay Network. “Since its inception LifeWay Network has been committed to combating human trafficking through collaboration. The efforts represented by this initiative – the public and private partnership, our collaboration with Covenant House and the participation of women religious in this work demonstrates the power in partnerships. The potential for working together to create the Home For Healing in New York will be a significant breakthrough in the ongoing effort to support survivors of human trafficking.”
A recent study of homeless young people at Covenant House found that almost a quarter of them had been involved either in trafficking or survival sex, where sex is exchanged for something of value, often food or shelter. “Half of the trafficking survivors told us that if they had a safe place to stay, they would not have had to give away their dignity and innocence to people who were all too ready to exploit them,” said Creighton Drury, Executive Director of Covenant House New York. “Clearly, if we provide safe shelter to more kids, there will be fewer kids for pimps, gangs and johns to use and abuse.”
Today, tens of thousands of people in the U.S. are living in some type of modern-day slavery. Although efforts to combat this crime have increased in recent years, care and recovery support for survivors remains inadequate. The Partnership for Freedom’s first challenge, Reimagine:Opportunity is looking for creative, sustainable ways to address three critical issues faced by human trafficking survivors: sustainable housing, economic empowerment and social services. Learn more at www.partnershipforfreedom.org or follow #P4F on Facebook and Twitter.
As finalists, LifeWay Network & Covenant House will participate in a three-day Innovation Workshop in Washington, D.C. in January 2014 where we’ll pair up with expert coaches from social enterprise development, technology start-ups, medical and mental health experts, communications, and public relations experts to further refine our ideas. Up to three winners will be announced in Spring 2014; they will receive up to $1.8 million in funding to begin piloting their solutions.