This week we are shining the spotlight on Covenant House, an organization that provides shelter and support for homeless youth. Homeless youth are considered to be among the most vulnerable people to be trafficked. They could be runaways, victims of abuse, or living in poverty; each story is unique and heartbreaking. Traffickers often exploit these vulnerabilities. By providing homeless youth with a safe place to stay, Covenant House is also protecting them from becoming victims of human trafficking.
In a recent presentation, Jim White from Covenant House highlighted some important information on the organization and the youth it supports:
• 10-15% of the homeless youth population has experienced human trafficking.
o This includes both labor and sex trafficking, as well as both males and females.
o Covenant House only works with youth ages 18-22.
o Most of their populations are homeless and runaways.
• Covenant House is working on a new tool to help better identify victims that involves ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences).
o One key indicator is a lack of a meaningful relationship with an adult.
• In New Jersey, Covenant House provides homes for mothers and babies, those suffering from mental health issues, and 2 crisis centers in Newark and Atlantic City.
o These centers offer programs for job readiness, mental health treatment, and legal issues.
• New Jersey labor trafficking programs are leading the fight against human trafficking as models for programs across the country.
• Only 17% of their budget is government funded, which means these services rely heavily on private donations.
• During the current COVID-19 outbreak, it has been very difficult to socially distance in their shelters, although the transitional homes have been better able to handle it. This presents an added danger to an already dangerous situation.
What can you do to help? Since Covenant House relies heavily on private donations, you can donate to support their services. Your donations can make an immediate impact in someone’s life and will help fight human trafficking.
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