February 11, 2011
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Helping the recovery of local sex trafficking victims
Jenny Williamson, Founder and President of Courage To Be You, Inc.(C2BU), an international, non-profit organization established to help people find their purpose in life, went to church one Sunday three years ago, never expecting her own life to change that day. But when she heard a couple from her church speak about child sex trafficking in Cambodia, her heart was pierced. “As a mom, everything in me screamed this is wrong! I had to do something.”
Jenny began with research. She expected to find information on trafficking overseas, but was shocked to discover the crisis hit home. “Everywhere I looked… it was Sacramento, Sacramento, Sacramento. I felt a sense of excitement—not because it was happening here—but because I felt like I could do something about it. This issue was in my own backyard.”
That’s when the vision to build Courage House™ was born. More than a house, it is a home—a safe place where victims of sex trafficking will be able to heal physically, emotionally and spiritually. “These girls' families have failed them,” says Jenny, referring to the high rates of abuse and neglect among trafficking victims, “so it's up to us as a community to be their family—to protect them and help them find their sense of purpose again.”
While it is impossible to know the exact number of children being sold for sex in the United States, law enforcement agencies estimate the number to be from 100,000 to more than 250,000 children annually. Though statistics vary, everyone agrees that this trauma causes severe emotional, physical, mental and spiritual damage to our children. There are only a handful of long-term residential group homes in the country that serve this vulnerable population’s specific needs. Courage House ™ NorCal will be a state licensed, Christian, long-term residential home that will help to change that, bringing much-needed facilities, services and support to girls rescued at a critical point in their lives.
Courage House™ will not just be a structure or building, a program or approach; it will be a place where hope is given, healing is offered, and lives are renewed. C2BU believes it is never too late for an individual—especially a child—to be rescued and lovingly restored to a life filled with hope, purpose, and love.
It has been a little over two years since the vision of Courage House™ was born, and much has been accomplished. C2BU has purchased 50 acres of land, a house, and barn for the first U.S.A. Courage House in rural Northern California (Courage House™ NorCal) and was given seven horses to begin an equestrian program. In addition, C2BU was able to lease a building and land in Tanzania, Africa for free for the first International Courage House.
However, there is still much to do. Children are being sold for sex in every city in every country around the world. It is C2BU’s vision and passion is to open Courage Houses™ so that recovered victims will have a safe place to belong and begin the journey of restoration and transformation. “We have a voice as moms,” says Jenny. “I thought I must be the last person to be aware of this problem, but I found out I was one of the first, so just telling the story makes a difference.”For more information on how you can volunteer, send an e-mail to [email protected] or more general information, send an e-mail to [email protected] or visit their site at http://www.c2bu.org/
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