Human Trafficking Survivor Finds Hope and Restoration

a pair of hands tied by a red knot depicts the trafficked person

“Deborah’s Gate helped save my life,” says Lauren (not her real name). “When I came to The Salvation Army I felt like I deserved to hurt and didn’t deserve to live. Then the staff reminded me of my worth and importance in life.”

“Deborah’s Gate helped save my life”

The Salvation Army’s Deborah’s Gate is a national, specialized, program of care serving international and domestic women age 18 and up who have been trafficked into situations of sexual and/or labour exploitation.

“I felt lost, forgotten, worthless and alone”

“Before Deborah’s Gate I felt lost, forgotten, worthless and alone,” says Lauren. “I lived in fear, fleeing from those who were supposed to care for me and keep me safe, but instead wanted to find any reason to hurt me.”

Most trafficked persons fear reaching out for support. Years of broken trust and abuse can be a barrier to trusting again.

“Deborah’s Gate ensured that I was safe, happy and striving for something better than what I felt I deserved,” says Lauren. “When I didn’t believe in myself the staff did the believing for me. They provided me with a high level of support on a daily basis, connected me with outside resources that could help me, found me activities I enjoyed doing, and helped keep my supports from back home close.”

On average, survivors stay in the programs for six months to two years and access supportive, specialized programs that include trauma sensitive mental health & addictions programming, barista employment training, and life and living skills development. When participants graduate, they work with outreach workers who support re-integration back into community. True healing means being provided the tools to live beyond a program.

“I have hopes, dreams, a real desire to live for the future”

“After my stay at Deborah’s Gate I have hopes, dreams, a real desire to live for the future and to help others who are in or have been in my situation,” says Lauren. “Deborah’s Gate still supports me through phone conversations, outings and accompanying me back home for my perpetrator’s court hearing. I am striving to be better and better each day using my supports and coping skills that were provided by Deborah’s Gate.”