Family Services’ Freedom House is where we provide services to survivors of human trafficking, a form of modern day slavery. Our trafficking program has grown exponentially since we began providing services in 2010. We now have an entire office focused solely on trafficking services. During the first few years, we worked with very few victims since human trafficking was so under-identified. In 2017, we provided services to 67 human trafficking survivors. This was a big year because of a large human trafficking bust the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office made in which they referred several survivors for services. In 2018, we served 38 survivors.
Click here to watch our 2-minute video about Freedom House.
Thanks to a contract with Child Welfare Services, Freedom House also hosts a drop in center for youth at risk for CSEC (commercial sexual exploitation of children). Freedom House is a safe space for youth under 18 and AB12 (extended foster care) youth ages 18-21. So far, in 2018, 161 youth dropped-in at Freedom House a total of 337 times! During drop-in center hours, youth have access to:
- Support groups
- Job/life skills classes
- Computer use and tutoring
- Mentoring opportunities
- Art therapy and traditional talk therapy
- Services for parents/guardians
- Hygiene products
- Program incentive items (gift cards and other prizes)
In addition to the drop-in center, we offer many other free victim services including:
- Hotline response
- Confidential information, referral and crisis counseling
- Trauma-informed, collaborative case management
- Victim advocacy
- Legal services
- Emergency shelter (for adult survivors)
- Substance abuse treatment referral and financial assistance to cover the cost
- Job/life skills training
- Emergency assistance (gas cards/bus passes, clothing and hygiene products, hotel stays, household establishment assistance including first month’s rent and security deposit, low cost essential furnishings)
The Freedom House staff also provides extensive outreach and training throughout the community in collaboration with other members of the Tulare County Human Trafficking Task Force. If your agency or community group is interested in receiving a presentation, please contact Barbara Cruz at Barbara.firstname.lastname@example.org.