I blogged about the show on Oxygen channel called "Sex Workers or Victims" which is hosted by Lisa Ling that is on tonight, but I won't be watching it because unfortunately I don't get the Oxygen channel and the local friends I've talked to also don't get this channel.
If you do get this channel please watch this show if you can and let me know what you thought of it.
This topic reminded me of several programs in Minnesota that I know about which help women successfully get out of prostitution. And by successfully get out, this means dealing with issues like substance dependancy, education and life skills. With the average age of entry being estimated at 13 years old there is a lot of healthy development these people didn't get and now need to catch up on.
Too often parole officers are the defacto prostitution recovery specialists. The prostituted in my city rarely enter the criminal justice system through a prostitution charge, most often they come into the system because of drug convictions. Most of these girls and women have been betrayed too many times by multiple systems to have an attitude of gratitude toward those who tell them they want to help them.
The prostitution recover program I am most familiar with is Breaking Free located in St. Paul which "serves women and girls involved in systems of prostitution/sex trafficking and other battered women who have been involved in the criminal justice system." They are an Afro-centric social services agency and serve a woefully neglected population. I haven't been to their facilities in St. Paul, but I have attended several presentations given by their staff so I know they have a knowledgable and caring management.
The other one I am aware of is the Women's Recovery Center in North Oaks, MN.
In the City Pages Bill Nelson is interviewed about his work as a private jailer which preceeded the creation of the Women's Recovery Center which focuses on those who are still chemically dependant. He also discusses the documentary Prostitution: Beyond the Myth which aired last September on Twin Cities Public Television 17.
I've heard Nelson speak and I liked the way he and those he worked with approached both the need and the common sense behind creating programs to help the prostituted. It costs less money to help them out of prostitution and substance dependancy than it costs to punish them for the crime of prostitution or for the crime of drug use/possession.
Here's a YouTube video about that documentary:
There may be other programs in Minnesota that I'm not aware of. If you know of more please let me know. Also if you know of good programs in other states or countries also let me know.
Labels: Violence Against Women