Services for trafficking victims threatened by lack of funding

Sex trafficking victims can find a path to healing from a variety of avenues.

With the right resources and programs, many victims go on to lead successful lives.

That is due in a large part to the comprehensive services offered by organizations in Louisiana — including safe houses, child advocacy centers and transitional living facilities. These organizations offer services free of charge to help victims on their roads to recovery. But a majority do so without any state-appropriated or federal funding — and many nonprofits are struggling to keep their doors open.

Susanne Dietzel, executive director of Eden House in New Orleans, said women are referred to Eden House's two-year residential recovery program from prison, rehab centers and law enforcement. They also come on their own from shelters and the streets. Once in the program, women have access to full medical and dental care, as well as weekly trauma therapy counseling sessions and life skill training.

Dietzel said every woman’s story is unique, but most women she has worked with experienced sexual abuse between the ages of 7 and 11, started coping with drugs or alcohol and entered prostitution as teenagers.

“These women are victims of numerous traumas. We require weekly trauma therapy of our residents, which is not always easy,” Dietzel said. “Healing doesn’t just happen progressively. It doesn’t always go smoothly, and it hurts, all around.”

To read more: