Are there local services for former prostitutes?

Last summer, I started a thread here about prostitution in Ypsilanti, and the challenges faced by the women looking to leave the life. If you haven’t read though the thread, and if you have time, I’d recommend it. Among those people contributing were several former prostitutes, and their perspectives were incredibly enlightening. And, every once in a while, we get a new comment. Today, we received the following from a woman calling herself Glynn, and I thought that I’d move it up here to the front page, in case anyone out there had suggestions as to where she might find support and resources.

I’m struggling to have a normal life after being trafficked. Obviously, the name I listed is not a real one. It’s just that I don’t want my past to find me. It’s good that I started talking to a professional. I did go back to school. I go to church, and I’m learning how to be a good mother and wife through older women there. I still find it hard and lonely though. I worry about the other girls all the time. I have bad dreams about them and wonder who made it out alive or who is not/is in prison and/or flinging dope or doing tricks on their own. Can someone direct me to a safe place, person, or thing that can offer support for me? I feel so often misunderstood and alone. Thanks.

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17 Comments

  1. Kim
    Posted June 6, 2010 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    I don’t know if you saw it yet, but she left a comment in your other thread saying that she now lived in Ohio. I’d like to help, but I have absolutely no idea what kind of resources they have there.

  2. notoneofthecoolkids
    Posted June 6, 2010 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    I think it is wonderful that she is making such an effort to change her life. I think churches are a nice place to feel a part of a community but they are not the places to turn to for the psychological consulting.

    I am a firm believer she get non secular cognitive talk therapy to find out how to change the bad habits, the negative thoughts and heal in order to find her future. Recovering from work in the sex industry is not something anyone should do only through church, and the nice old ladies there. Turning to a church community will only cover up the deep psychological patterns and will pigeon hole her into a certain lifestyle. This is her chance to whole, to look at all the opportunities available in the world, and if she relies too much on the church, she will not be able explore all avenues. No one should let religion be a substitution for a bad habit, addiction, or a way to push away a difficult past.
    I recommend she seek a psychologist that specializes in abused women and children. Most psychologists will work on a sliding scale fee, plus U of M has many student therapists, etc. Therapy doesn’t always mean a long drawn out process and expense, even one or two sessions can give a person new confidence and the tools he/she needs to truly change.
    Hope she finds someone. Good Luck to her.
    (Mark, I would be happy to give a name of a professional I know via email.)

  3. Glynn
    Posted June 6, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    In the last “thread” (or whatever it’s called) I did say I’m seeing a professional. And, I don’t get help from little old ladies at church, although they are nice too. I’m friends with some people at church who are still in recovery from shooting dope. They are cool help for the addiction part, and I am in AA where I have a cool sponsor and actively work the steps. It’s just that I wish I had some other people who understand being trafficked as a kid to talk to…ones that are trying to come out of it both physically and emotionally. I just thought maybe someone knew a country-wide organization that could hook me up with a support group or something. I don’t know. I wanted to start somewhere, and I liked the comments and stories I saw here.

  4. Posted June 6, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    There were two organizations that I knew of when I was in LA that were doing good work getting kids off the street, many of whom were involved in prostitution. They were My Friend’s Place and Children of the Night. The latter one, Children of the Night, I believe, has more of a national presence. I know they work primarily with children, but I suspect they might have a sense as to good programs elsewhere around the country that not only deal with people currently working the streets, but also with those, like yourself, who have been out of the life for a while. Anyway, I think it might be a good, non-church place to start… I’ll keep thinking about it… And good luck.

  5. glynn
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Mark. Was hoping to that maybe someone would be interested in emailing back and forth. It’d just be nice to be in contact with someone I could vent to, get advice from, etc. on a regular basis. I think it’d be helpful to just have someone who gets the crazy stuff I think about or am afraid of, you know? Again, thanks for letting me post stuff.

  6. Posted June 7, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    I’ll keep thinking about it, Glynn, and I’ll ask a few people that I know who work in social services. They might have some additional ideas… Best of luck.

  7. Samsa
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Maybe this would have some resources:

    http://www.law.umich.edu/centersandprograms/clinical/humantraffickingclinicalprogram/Pages/default.aspx

  8. Samsa
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    More possible leads?

    http://www.safehousecenter.org/

    http://womenscentersemi.org/

    http://www.umich.edu/~cew/community/index.htm

  9. Posted June 9, 2010 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for these links, Samsa. The first one looks particularly interesting.

  10. Amanda
    Posted June 10, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    There is a program in Toledo, OH called Second Chance that was founded by Dr. Celia Williamson. Dr. Williamson has a social work background and has done extensive work in the area of human trafficking.
    http://secondchancetoledo.org/secondchance/about
    According to the website, “any woman who has been affected by prostitution and any girl who has been victimized or is at risk of victimization by Commercial Sexual Exploitation or sex trafficking is eligible for services.”
    I hope this helps.

  11. Samsa
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    No problem.

    Sorry for the tardiness, but I just found out that Alternatives for Girls calls itself the ” the ONLY full-service program for girls and women engaged in the commercial sex industry in Detroit?”

  12. Carol Tremont
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    I know Alternatives for Girls, and I don’t think they do much work in the areas of prostitution and human traficing. I did a search though and found a mention from 5 years ago. The article also references a sociology prof in Ohio, who may have information on services in that state.

    May 28, 2003

    Detroit-based Alternatives for Girls’ New Choices Project helps women exit prostitution and other forms of sex work, like exotic dancing. Program administrators say getting out of prostitution can be a challenge for career prostitutes, many of whom have criminal pasts and little professional work history.
    In its current form, the project was launched in January 2003. It is funded in part through the Michigan AIDS Fund, the Skillman Foundation, the McGregor Foundation and other foundations. It is modeled after the San Francisco-based project Standing Against Global Exploitation, which has helped 800 women exit sex work.

    Celia Williamson, an assistant professor at the University of Toledo’s social work department, has researched street prostitution in various cities. The longer women are in prostitution, the harder it is to leave — especially since many women have cut ties with their families, she said. Because it is fast-paced and pays “everyday you are willing to work,” the life of a prostitute can be exciting at first, Williamson said. But this seduction wears thin as women become depressed or are abused.

    New Choices provides services such as life skills training, recreational and cultural activities, educational workshops, mentoring and counseling. Many of the women with whom Alternatives for Girls works are recruited through its street outreach. Volunteers offer condoms, food and support. Deena Policicchio, director of the outreach and education services department, which includes New Choices, said the program has reached some 1,500 female sex workers in Detroit, though only a handful come to the three-times-weekly meetings. Most of the women are poor and in their 30s. Many women who commit to the program eventually drop out. Because many of the women lack phones or permanent addresses, staying in touch can be tough.

  13. Carol Tremont
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Alternatives for Girls has a Safe Choices Project.

    http://www.alternativesforgirls.org/StreetOutreach.html

    But I don’t see any mention of a New Choices Project on their website.

    There is, however, a contact. You can write to:

    For more information about Outreach Programs, please contact:

    Deena Policicchio
    Director, Outreach
    Phone: (313) 361-4000
    E-mail: dpolicicchio@alternativesforgirls.org

  14. Posted August 16, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Glynn-
    Please contact me at either dpolicicchio@alternativesforgirls.org or by calling 313-361-4000, ext. 270.

    Everyone-
    Alternatives For Girls has many services for girls and women of all ages who were trafficked into or chose to be in the sex industry. Safe Choices is our program name and it encompasses our New Choices Project, the exiting program. However, our work goes beyond that component with street outreach, case planning, and walk-in services. From September, 2009- June, 2010, we had low funding for this program, but our funding has been partially restored to a level that allows for consistent supportive services.
    In addition, what makes Alternatives For Girls program all the better of a resource for women is that we utilize former sex workers (both trafficked and non-trafficked) as peer and staff supports.
    If anyone would like additional informtion on sex industry Human Trafficking and/ or services for survivors, please contact me as well.
    All the best.

  15. iRobert
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Fox News is always hiring.

  16. Jean Henry
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    iRobert chimes in with yet another bold display of callous sexism.

  17. iRobert
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Yes, but a funny one.

    …and it provided you with another opportunity to pretend to be an opposing force to sexism. So win, win.

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