Check out the blog here.
We’re excited to announce that we received the FBI Director’s Community Leadership award for our human trafficking work this morning! Thank you to our partners at the FBI - we can end the scourge of human trafficking, but we can only end it together!
“The premise of those who would blame these trafficking survivors is that they must have chosen this life, so they are accountable for the consequences of that decision. Nothing could be further from the truth. A trafficking survivor isn’t like the streetwise lady of the night with a heart of gold depicted in movies and on TV. These are kids who have been thrown out on the street by the people who were supposed to care for them until a trafficker snatches them up and delivers this chillingly effective threat: do this or I’ll kill you and everyone you ever cared about. Or the trafficker who convinces this vulnerable child that he loves her and tells her that she’d do this for him if she truly loved him too. That’s not choice. That’s fraud and coercion, compulsion and victimization.”
“Despite the shift to beginning the point-in-time count of homeless youth up to age 24 at 3 p.m. instead of overnight in an attempt to engage more young people, staffers from Covenant House Pennsylvania, which provides shelter and services for homeless youth ages 18 to 21, said counts historically find only a small fraction of young people who are truly experiencing homelessness.
“It’s still very likely to be an under-count … It’s an invisible population,” Covenant House Pennsylvania Executive Director John Ducoff said. “[On average,] we serve 500 youth a year and turn away 400 more.”
Ducoff said that during the weekend blizzard alone, seven homeless young people sought refuge at Covenant House’s Germantown-based crisis shelter, and that in fiscal year 2015, the shelter served 512 homeless teens and young adults, but turned away another 249 kids, plus 127 homeless young mothers and their children and 43 homeless young women who were pregnant due to lack of space.
“Obviously, it’s the thing that keeps me up at night. It’s the thing that we’re working on,” Ducoff said. “We have to do more.”
Covenant House PA’s Executive Director, John Ducoff, and one of our youth, Diamond, spoke to CBS about the impact of the blizzard on homeless youth across Philadelphia.
January has been declared National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month. Although we conduct trainings and blitzes throughout the year, we make an extra push to raise awareness each January.
We consider the residents of Covenant House to be an important part of this awareness effort, so we host an activity at the shelter to teach and answer questions regarding trafficking and exploitation.
The youth were asked, “If you could tell the world one thing about human trafficking, what would you say?” Below are some examples of what they said.
To wrap up a variety of awareness and prevention events this month, the Covenant House Outreach Team and several members of the Philadelphia Anti-Trafficking Coalition will be showing the 2007 film Very Young Girls at St. Joseph’s University.
Our Covenant House Associate Board hosted another great networking event last night! Dozens of young professionals gathered at Yards Brewing Co. for our Cocktail Countdown to the Sleep Out: Young Professionals Edition coming up this March, and 10 new sleepers registered on the spot! You can sign up here: philadelphia.ypsleepout.org.
Check out John’s latest blog here.