It may be hard to believe that sex trafficking exists in the United States or that it could be as close to home as our state of Pennsylvania. However, the truth is that the horrific effects of sex-trafficking reach everywhere, including right here in Lancaster County. On March 24th, 2022, the newly launched Lancaster County Human Trafficking Task Force announced their very first successful operation, arresting 14 individuals associated with the trafficking ring.
For every trafficking ring taken down, more and more women are freed. But they’re not really free. Homeless, traumatized, and addicted, most end up back on the streets.
They need immediate help, as well as long-term solutions. North Star Initiative provides restorative services to survivors of domestic sex trafficking by providing physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual care through a Christ-centered focus. Because we believe in the power of Jesus Christ and the effectiveness of restorative work, we own and operate The Harbor Restoration Program.
In December 2017, we opened the doors of The Harbor, located in Lititz, PA, and became one of the few in the entire region and Lancaster County’s ONLY long-term restoration home for survivors of domestic sex-trafficking serving females ages 18-35.
Trafficking literally and figuratively destroys these women, their identities, and their futures. The Harbor seeks to repair and restore what has been stolen, putting her on a path to find true freedom. The Harbor gives her a safe place to rest, and the support she needs to address her complex trauma. We provide her with the therapeutic tools and resources she needs to transition from victim to survivor.
We also work with each survivor to re-establish their practical needs. We provide her with the necessary identification, education, job skills, and the life skills she needs to ensure a life of sustained independence.
I want to share just how much of an impact our program has had on one of our graduate survivors. She says...
“The Harbor gave me a quiet, safe space to process the truth about the abuse I was subjected to and how it framed my worldview. The Harbor gave me all the time I needed to heal. They believed my truth when I didn’t even believe it myself. They loved me until I could learn to love myself again. They were my strength before I knew I could become strong. They truly were my rock, the soil where I learned to plant roots and trust God to water them again. I began to lose the fear of my sober consciousness there. I lost the fear of change and the fear of being alive all through the care and compassion the staff at North Star showed me. The opportunity to heal at this program is the greatest gift I have ever been given.”
We have had the opportunity to be a part of the GTGH fair for the last 3 years and have been blessed to be able to reach our community through this event. There are quite a few of our current donors who first heard about us just by coming to this gift fair and stopping by our table. Lancaster is a hub for sex trafficking, and the more our community hears about this important topic, the more they understand the need for an organization like North Star Initiative. We are so grateful to be a part of Lancaster’s annual Gifts that Give Hope Gift Fair and are excited to continue meeting our community members and educating them about the important work we do. Together, we CAN make a difference in the lives of sex trafficking survivors!
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