Thursday, July 5, 2012

Repairing the Breach

Some weeks back on this blog, we shared insights about what I’d call Amirah’s hidden life "Why it takes so long to open a safe house." It’s the cocoon time, before an announcement that the doors are open wide and the first residents have arrived to begin their journeys to wholeness.

I’m as eager as anyone to hear that news. Also eager to learn more about the actual plan of care envisioned for the women. Recently, I sat down with Bob Atherton, Amirah’s executive director of operations, to explore the details. This will be the first of several articles I hope to post on the topic over the next few months.

Whole Person Restoration with Informed Consent

Amirah’s is a whole-person plan of care for survivors of human trafficking that puts the individual woman first. What trauma has stripped away, Amirah desires to help rebuild. Atherton says,
"In the context of being trafficked, each woman, whether significantly or completely, has had her voice, her say, her control over her particular circumstances stripped away. We want to restore that control and make healing a collaborative, relationship-based process.”

Therefore, a woman’s informed consent about each aspect of her care is paramount in Amirah's vision. It will shape the efforts its community and referral partners, mentors, therapeutic specialists, volunteers and supporters, and advisers. “The key to our care services is that they are individualized, person-centric,” Atherton explains.

Addressing Six Aspects of Personhood

Six essential aspects of personhood are the foundation of Amirah’s care program. Support in each area is a essential for a trafficking survivor to rebuild a healthy life and relationships with trust, safety, strength and hope.

  1. Physical Restoration
    (care for physical well-being)
  2. Emotional/Psychological Restoration
    (healing the emotional life)
  3. Mental/Intellectual Restoration
    (restoring healthy thinking patterns)
  4. Spiritual Restoration
    (re-connecting women to hope, restored personal values, inspiration)
  5. Social Restoration
    (facilitating healthy relationships, facilitating cultural/linguistic connections, legal processes)
  6. Vocational Restoration
    (exploring interests, hobbies, education, vocation or career)

Amirah House will address these aspects of care with each woman at appropriate phases of her residence experience, from the initial 30-day preliminary review and assessment period, through each phase of her Individual Care Plan (ICP). In all of this, she will be empowered to request discussion, review, clarification, acceptance, postponement, and exploration. As Bob Atherton reminds us, “Having experienced a deep level of comprehensive trauma, the women will be given a voice and a choice, in an environment that counters all the coercion they’ve known as trafficking survivors.”

by Kathleen Luz

Many thanks to Bob Atherton for sharing his time and knowledge for this article, in the first of more conversations I’ll have with him on aftercare.

Information on Amirah’s Six Aspects of Personhood:
“Program Plan, revised May 2012,” Amirah, Inc.; pp 17-24.

“FBI: Nationwide child prostitution sweep leads to 104 arrests; 79 children rescued,” 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this summary of the vision and approach to the day to day work of Amirah House.