Rethreaded: Giving Trafficking Survivors the Chance To Rebuild Their Life
According to studies, 70-90% of victims of sex trafficking have a history of child sexual abuse.1 Many studies have documented youth who are sexually abused have long-lasting consequences (depression, PTSD, anxiety, etc.), are more likely to experience other types of victimization, and are thirty-five times more likely to be re-victimized in adulthood.
Polyvictimization refers to a person experiencing multiple types of victimization such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, bullying, or exposure to family violence. Understanding and addressing polyvictimization is critical in preventing future victimization as a child and re-victimization as an adult.
“When someone is violated at a young age their choice is stolen. Because they’ve experienced severe complex trauma, trust is broken. They often never get the ability to develop healthy relationships,” states Kristin Keen, founder and director of Rethreaded, a non-profit in Jacksonville, Florida, with a mission to give trafficking victims the chance to rebuild their lives.
“Youth are groomed to enter into the sex trade because that’s what they were taught when they were young. As adults, they can go two different ways: this is what they were taught or this is what ‘love’ is. They continue this path, disassociate from their body, and often have low self-esteem.”
Kristin realizes that economically empowering women can give them space to become who they were created to be and build their self-confidence. Rethreaded began by forming relationships with women on the street and making prison visits. Soon, Kristin realized that the greatest need was for a safe, supportive work environment where the women could earn money while learning a skill and experiencing continued healing through community. With partnerships and collaboration with local and national organizations, like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Southwest Airlines, Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, and City Rescue Mission of Jacksonville, Rethreaded is able to directly help survivors of trafficking with employment, counseling, and career development.
Rethreaded recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, hosted a grand opening for its new facility, and purchased the Amelia Toffee Company. “We look forward to being able to hire more survivors with not only the increased space but increased capacity. The new building alone allowed us to change our mission to what it is now, to employ 500 survivors by 2031,” Kristin explained.
But the question remains: What can be done to prevent and stop sex trafficking? Kristin replied, “People need to stop buying sex. Trafficking is a business that follows basic business principles. If there wasn’t demand, there wouldn’t be a business.”
Ending demand is one step. Protecting and empowering youth is another. Given the knowledge that many individuals that are trafficked were previously abused, preventing child sexual abuse is a valid goal in the effort to stop sex trafficking. We know that 95% of child sexual abuse is preventable through education. Therefore, we must provide every child with quality, effective prevention education programs to empower them. Prevention happens in partnership, and through our many amazing partners who are providing MBF Prevention Education Programs around the world, we are working together to prevent human trafficking and hope for a day when children, when humans, are no longer victimized. Until that day, we applaud and support the work of Rethreaded and the many other organizations supporting survivors!
Learn more about Rethreaded and visit its online store at https://rethreaded.com/.
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevent: Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Sex Trafficking: https://ojjdp.ojp.gov/mpg/literature-review/csec-sex-trafficking.pdf
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