The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children is a growing epidemic in the United States. Sacred Daughters is our national juvenile justice and advocacy program for girls and young women commercially trafficked and/or caught in the net of our criminal justice system due to trafficking. Through our Sacred Daughters program we empower our girl survivors by giving them the opportunity and security to express and unearth their violated lives by expressing themselves through spoken or written words in empowerment workshops. Thus begins the gradual transformation and healing process, which includes formal clinical therapy, to transform the damaged and violated lives of girls to help them recognize and envision a safe, secure life of hope and possible dreams. We also prevent commercial sexual exploitation of children by hosting education workshops and outreach to schools and vulnerable communities to educate youth about the perils and systematic process of luring children to become victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
Our goals are to reduce the number of girls commercially exploited for commercial sex and increase the number of programs available as alternatives to detention that approach girls and young women affected by violence from a gender-specific, trauma informed and strength-based perspective, and to increase leadership and advocacy skills of girls and young women who have been affected by violence.
Our program is conducted/implemented on a 12 month time-frame with the following activities: 1) Conducting leadership and policy training workshops for girls using our girls’ empowerment leadership curriculum. 2) Coaching and training girls to nurture and cultivate their voice as catalysts for change and civic leadership, by transforming their circumstances through advocating for sensible and equitable juvenile justice reform for themselves and their communities. 3) Advocating to support trafficked girls as victims and support programs that are community based, gender responsive, trauma informed and strength-based as an alternative to incarceration for girls at risk of or who become system involved. 4) Seeking sponsorship for our summer Girls leadership program in Washington DC.
Arts Integration Program
The Arts Integration Program, was created in the Summer of 2009 for teenage girls in DC, MD and VA to coach, educate, and motivate teenage girls to seek and accept agency to empower themselves to become leaders.
This program was implemented to help avert high rates of STD HIV/AIDS infections, teenage pregnancy and, consequently, lower academic achievement in Washington, DC. In our program, the core concepts of leadership, by integrating arts and motivational speakers, are incorporated in our girl leadership workshops to include the following:
- Communication skills.
- Connecting and building relationships with other girls and adults.
- Creative thinking.
- Critical thinking.
- Introducing girls to college opportunities and careers.
- Learning assertiveness and avoiding aggressive or passive behavior.
- Learning body language and listening skills for better communication.
- Reclaiming voice and tradition dictated by males.
- Role models.
- Working cooperatively.
In our program’s four to six week summer workshops, girls explore themes of empowerment, leadership and personal responsibility through innovative art workshops. The expected outcomes are increased personal development, self-empowerment and self-esteem; and girls develop a strong sense of self, gain practical and healthy life skills and strengthen values to give them a sense of hope and possibilities.
Summer 2009 – Dance Arts Integration Program
In 2009, dance was the integrated art form incorporated in our summer leadership workshop. Girls improved their abilities as dancers and learned to articulate original ideas as leaders in a variety of creative forms. The 2009 summer workshop was coordinated by Binahkaye Joy, an amazing gifted dancer and Artistic Director of the mobile dance laboratory, JOYISM (www.osadance.blogspot.com ) in Washington, DC.