Atlanta Dream Center uses various outreaches to identify and build relationships with victims of commercial sexual exploitation. A weekly Street Outreach utilizes handmade cards and roses to communicate to women – primarily trapped in street prostitution – that they are valuable and cared for and that there are opportunities for hope and recovery. The cards include messages of kindness and the 24-hour hotline number. In 2019, the street outreach team had 1,460 encounters.
Strip Club Outreach
A separate outreach program intentionally builds relationships with both men and women involved in several areas of the commercial sex industry. Teams regularly stay out until 1:30 AM visiting individuals in strip clubs, in brothels and on the surrounding streets with the aim to build trust, restore self-worth and educate individuals about resources. In 2019, the strip club outreach team had 3,298 encounters with individuals in Atlanta’s sex industry.
The jail mentorship program offers education, resources and support to incarcerated victims of commercial sexual exploitation. The jail mentorship program is active in Bartow, Bibb, Cobb, Dekalb, Gwinnett and Muscogee County Jails. If a victim is interested in joining the mentorship program, he or she is paired with a mentor. While awaiting trial or serving a sentence, participants of the mentorship program have focused time to invest in their recovery and consider the next steps for their future. Victims receive curriculum and meet with their mentor at least twice per month. During their meetings, mentors provide emotional and spiritual support, as well as psycho-educational resources. Mentors also assist victims with community services information they may need to move forward upon release. Mentors and pen pals support victims through letters or postcards of encouragement. When a victim is released from jail, she may access residential support through Atlanta Dream Center’s Anti-Sex Trafficking Hotline and Safe Home. In 2019, the jail team mentored 218 individuals incarcerated in 6 county jails.
Atlanta Dream Center’s Anti-Sex Trafficking Hotline operates 24-hours, 365 days a year and acts as the bridge between victimization and safety. Hotline volunteers are women trained to meet the needs of victims. Callers are given a safe space to share their background and current circumstances, receive information about community resources and ask for help. Information from every call is logged with demographic data and discussion notes. In 2019, the 24-hour hotline received 2,420 calls for assistance.
If a caller to our 24-Hour Hotline is a victim of commercial sexual exploitation and is interested in entering a long-term recovery program, a rescue team is immediately assembled to bring the victim to the Atlanta Dream Center Safe Home.
Atlanta Dream Center operates a crisis Safe Home for female victims of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploiation who are over the age of 17. Residents stay in the Safe Home for 2-4 weeks while attending medical and psychiatric appointments, participating in group therapy and skills-building classes and applying for long-term programs. The Safe Home is located in an undisclosed location and accepts emergency intakes around the clock. Utilizing a team-based approach, professional staff provide trauma-informed care as they go through an initial intake, establish goals and build an Individualized Service Plan. With a primary goal of crisis stabilization, all safe home programming, home environment and staff methods focus on establishing safety, improving emotional self-regulation and post-traumatic stress awareness. Practical goals often include attending court hearings, receiving medical evaluations and procuring government identification.
Long-term Program Placement
Atlanta Dream Center partners with over 40 long-term programs nationwide to offer each resident multiple program options to address her needs. After acceptance to a long-term program, Atlanta Dream Center financially provides for all program fees. In 2019, 118 women came to the Safe Home and 52 entered long-term programming. From 2011 to date, nearly 1,500 women have been served in the Safe Home.
Various programs associated with the Anti-Sex Trafficking Department have been replicated throughout the United States. Chapters are currently operating in the Middle Georgia region (Macon, Byron, Warner Robins) and Columbus, OH.
Community Training and Awareness Events
Atlanta Dream Center staff and volunteer leaders provide training for community members regarding commercial sexual exploitation, trauma, policy, culture and other critical issues. Large group training is offered quarterly, while a team represents Atlanta Dream Center at community events throughout the year. In 2019, 624 attended 12 Atlanta Dream Center trainings and 27 representatives attended 51 events, informing 7,252 individuals about the issue of sex trafficking and Atlanta Dream Center services.