After A Rescue: Caring for Our Girls
Destiny Rescue’s vision is to rescue children from sexual exploitation. But it’s not as simple as removing children from the sex industry. When we free a girl and bring her into Destiny Rescue’s care, our work is just beginning.
Rescue is obviously a crucial part of what we do, but aftercare and reintegration are also vital. Helping girls heal from the trauma they’ve experienced isn’t quick or easy, but it is absolutely worth the time and effort.
When a girl is brought out of an exploitative situation, she doesn’t just go back to the innocent child she was before. Some of these children have experienced deep betrayal and trauma which must be worked through before they can function in society. Others were pulled out of school at a young age and need more education before they can find safe employment. The children’s backgrounds and situations vary considerably.
Aftercare is the important next step for our girls after they’ve been rescued. The average time a girl takes to progress through our entire Aftercare program and reintegrate into society is between six months and two years, depending on the individual. The relationships the girls build in our rescue homes are an important support system to help them heal and trust again.
In our Aftercare program, girls are cared for by house parents native to their country, receive counselling and, with the aid of their individual caseworker, decide what they want for their futures. They attend classes in one of our Learning Centres or a formal school, receive vocational training, or begin employment.
“We’ve learned that with our Western mindset, we can assume the Aftercare program will work a certain way, but it needs to be created in the context of the girls’ native cultures,” says Megan Buxton, Destiny Rescue’s International Aftercare and Reintegration Director. “We work with local staff to make sure we’re being as effective as possible.
“There are so many factors at work that we need to be aware of. It’s not just about rescuing girls; we need to deal with the vulnerabilities that caused them to be exploited in the first place. Many of the girls in our care feel huge pressure to earn money for their families. So we can’t just educate them; we need to provide earning opportunities as well.”
Daily schedules vary in each home, depending on what opportunities are available for our girls in different cities. Generally, girls will spend part of their week studying and part making jewellery, learning sewing skills, working in the Destiny Rescue Café or doing another job. In many cases, we provide time for both school and work so girls can earn money for their families while receiving an education.
“The ultimate goal of our Aftercare program is to reintegrate girls successfully, therefore keeping them from being exploited again,” says Buxton. “We provide employment training—not just how to make coffee or cut hair, but also things like problem solving, communication and technology. We teach them all the skills an employer wants their employees to have. We really want our girls to be successful, and we support them and help them throughout the whole process.”
The reintegration process also varies in each city we work in, depending on what employment opportunities are available there. It’s different for each girl, too, as they all have unique family situations, skills and dreams for their futures. We work to develop relationships with local businesses where we can help girls find jobs after they leave our care. We also continue to support the girls as they adjust to life outside Destiny Rescue, whether in their home village or near our rescue home.
Providing housing, food, health checkups, school fees, vocational training fees and more for our girls in the months and years after their rescues is our biggest expense as an organisation, but we believe the investment is absolutely worthwhile. Being able to offer this type of support and education to these girls is often a huge motivator in their choice to leave the sex industry, and it definitely paves the way for them to have bright futures and achieve their God-given destinies.
Will you join with us in the fight to end child slavery? Get involved today by becoming a Rescue Partner!