Human trafficking happens here in the Lehigh Valley, unbeknownst to most citizens and even government officials. According to data from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, there was 275 confirmed case of human trafficking in Pennsylvania in 2018 (Polaris). While a Lehigh County-based outreach program identified 85 confirmed cases of human trafficking within a 15-block radius in downtown Allentown Pennsylvania in a twenty-four-month period (VAST 2020). Yet these numbers only represent a fraction of trafficking victims in the Lehigh Valley.
Often, victims struggle with an array of complex issues, many connected to their plight: undiagnosed mental health disorders, substance abuse, and homelessness.
Aspire to Autonomy Inc. (ASPIRE) will expand emergency shelter care options for female victims of human trafficking. The shelter will serve up to 4 clients at a time and each client may stay up to 120 days. While in the shelter, survivors will receive:
- case management
- in-house therapeutic & psycho-educational groups
- independent living skills workshops
- access to substance abuse/mental health services
In addition, residents will be supported in accessing government or community resources and educational resources to aid their self-sufficiency.