On Friday, July 2, the staff of Athena volunteered with Gracehaven. Gracehaven is a faith-based non-profit organization started in 2008 for the expressed purpose of providing shelter, security, and rehabilitation to girls under the age of 18 who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation in central Ohio.
Ohio is one of the top ten worst states in the US in regards to trafficking laws. Toledo is the third worst city in the US regarding the number of exploited teens/minors. It's hard to imagine that this is happening so frequently in our own backyard!
So the Athena Study Abroad team tried our best to spread awareness around the Columbus area. We drove around high risk areas posting signs, and leaving cards that contained information (a website and a help line) that would help those who may be a current victim in this terrible crime.
Gracehaven is a long-term rehabilitation facility allowing girls to stay as needed until they reach the age of 18. We will then help them transition to the next step in their life. While at Gracehaven, the girls will be able to earn their GED, as well as receive counseling and treatment for the horrible trauma and exploitation they have been forced to endure.
Please take a few minutes to look over this fact sheet to educate yourself on sexual exploitation not only in the Ohio area, but also around the world: http://www.gracehavenhouse.org/resources/fact-sheets/