Jackie Graduates from Emergency Home

Jackie* was first sold for sex by a family member when she was five years old. Now in her late 30s, she has been trafficked on and off for years and has been diagnosed with mental health, physical and substance use disorders. Safety was one of Jackie’s main concerns as she had been pursued by her traffickers across multiple states. After graduating from Refuge for Women Pittsburgh, she was accepted into a two-year long-term program in another state where she will continue her journey.  

This tree skirt was made by Jackie* during her stay at the Refuge for Women Pittsburgh Emergency House.

Jackie* was first sold for sex by a family member when she was five years old. Now in her late 30s, she has been trafficked on and off for years and has been diagnosed with mental health, physical and substance use disorders. Safety was one of Jackie’s main concerns as she had been pursued by her traffickers across multiple states. After graduating from Refuge for Women Pittsburgh, she was accepted into a two-year long-term program in another state where she will continue her journey.  

 “When I first arrived here, I had a chip on my shoulder. The world owed me for what I have been through. But then I started to realize that this place did not feel like a hospital or a treatment center. It feels like home.

The security system here helped me to relax. I know that the home is being monitored. I feel safe here.

 I was excited when I saw the Activities Room. With the materials I found there, I could create beautiful things. I love to use my hands and create things because, to me, it is my freedom of expression. My art helps me to feel like I am being heard.

 I realized that the more open I was about my feelings, the more progress I would make, so I started to participate more in class. I was honest and didn’t hold back. And the staff here responded by encouraging me and reminding me that I was safe. I don’t want to run anymore.”

*Name changed to protect the identity of the Survivor.

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