127 human trafficking cases were reported in Pennsylvania in 2018, ranking our state at #10 for most reported cases of trafficking in the United States. For every trafficking case that’s reported, it’s estimated that there are 5-10 going unreported. This means there were an estimate of 635-1,270 unreported human trafficking cases in PA this past year.
There is a gaping need for survivor care in Pennsylvania, especially in the Harrisburg, PA area. Survivors often find refuge in short-term care facilities, like domestic violence programs, homeless shelters, and emergency shelters. Many of these programs are not equipped to care for the specific needs of individuals who have been trafficked, which frequently results in survivors returning to the streets, and for most, returning to their captivity. One of the biggest goals that Greenlight Operation has is to open a Restoration Home by the end of 2020.
At this point, you may be wondering, “what is a restoration home?” It’s not a term that is often used, unless you’re watching HGTV or DIY Network. Greenlight, after all, is a human trafficking organization. Shouldn’t we be opening a safe house? A rehab? A halfway house? The answer to those questions is yes…but no.
When we think of the term safe house, we get a visual of FBI agents protecting a witness from an antagonist in a small apartment. A safe house is literally defined as, “a house in a secret location, used by spies or criminals in hiding.” Though this title is also used to describe a place where victims can find refuge in the short term until better accommodations can be found.
A rehabilitation center or home, in this context, is typically for the specific purpose of helping people overcome addiction.
A halfway house is an institution that allows people with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities, or those with criminal backgrounds, to learn (or relearn) the necessary skills to reintegrate into society and better support and care for themselves.
The home that we envision is more than a safe house; though we want these women to feel safe and comfortable here. It is more than a rehabilitation center; though we do expect to have women that have suffered through forced drug use and other addictions. A halfway house is close, but still does not quite encompass it all.
The term “restoration” has been picked very specifically. To restore, or bring restoration, is to return (someone or something) to a former condition, place, or position. When I think of restoration, I think of my dad sanding out scratches and imperfections on a piece of wooden furniture. He starts with a more abrasive sand paper, and works through to a very fine paper to create the most smooth & perfect finish. He then chooses a stain or an oil to protect and finish the piece. It is a process. Not always easy. Different woods and blemishes require different technique. In the same way, we hope to individualize care for the women that come to us.
Upon arrival, survivors will be enrolled in Greenlight Operation’s restoration program. Our program will provide individualized, holistic care, which will include trauma therapy, counseling, and courses that equip each woman to live an independent and sustainable lifestyle. This may include job training and furthering or finishing education. This program will be for 5-8 women, 18 years of age or older, for 6-12 months at a time. As they work through the program we seek to see these women go through the process of restoration- finding healing, finding personal peace, finding security in their “new normal.”
We need your support to make this a reality. Though there are possible state and federal grants and monies available, these funds typically come with “strings attached.” By accepting those funds, we would be expected to meet criteria that can overshadow and hinder the individualized and holistic program we are developing. Because of this, our restoration home will need to be fully funded through donations and fundraising.
Our team is currently working with a local realtor to identify property within a 20-mile radius of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Our aim is to build, purchase, or convert existing property into the restoration home, and have it fully staffed and operational by December 31, 2020. If you want to partner with Greenlight Operation’s restoration home project, consider donating to our property fund. Each gift brings a woman closer to freedom.
To donate online, click HERE!
If you would like volunteer information, click HERE.
To book a training or speaking engagement, click HERE