A first-of-its-kind emergency program to support female survivors of human trafficking opened in Orange County this summer, offering shelter beds as well as specially tailored healthcare, case management and education assistance services.
“My biggest goal for them is to … be safe and secure, and not feel like they have to go back into the life and make money to have enough to survive,” said Samantha Eitner, case manager for Strong Beginnings. The program currently has four beds set aside at the Orange County Rescue Mission.
For years the county has offered victims services such as temporary housing, food, clothing, transportation, court support and life-skill building. But before Strong Beginnings, there was nowhere for emergency placement.
That posed a problem, said Linh Tran, administrator of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force, because many survivors are identified in the middle of the night and need immediate safety at a time when other shelters are unavailable for intake.
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