One of the Rest Cottage Association’s newest grant recipients is Journey Out, an organization dedicated to helping victims of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking leave (or avoid) a life of abuse and violence, overcome their fears, and become empowered to reach their full potential and achieve their goals. Journey Out aims both to deliver the services and support needed to break free and rebuild a life, and to keep vulnerable individuals from entering “the life”—where they are 18 times more likely to be murdered than non-victims—in the first place.
Journey Out’s clients come from all over Los Angeles, and range in age from 18 to around 40, although about 40% are at the lowest end of that range. While many are runaways, according to Dr. Stephany Powell, the Executive Director, the typical client “really could be anybody’s daughter.” Indeed, more and more local college students are showing up in response to outreach programs. These young women may have been approached through ads for “escorts” on Craig’s List and other websites, by young men they’ve met at off-campus parties, or by other means that “look safe,” and may quickly find themselves in far over their heads.
In 2017, Journey Out provided its services free to 363 clients. In just the first quarter of this year, it assisted about 100 with offerings including outreach, therapy, prevention and diversion programs, court accompaniment, GED preparation, referrals (vocational, housing, medical, educational, etc.), crisis support, and more. It also offers professional training programs and community education to groups including firefighters, hospital workers, legislators, and many others. A drop-in center offers a kitchen, toiletries, clothes, computers, a small library, and a place to relax and talk with staff members, half of whom are survivors of sexual exploitation and trafficking.
The Ebell Rest Cottage Association is proud to have Journey Out as a member of the family.