- Published: Tuesday, 24 April 2012 22:35
"Harbourage" Safe Harbor Campus for Child Trafficking Victims
Ark of Hope for Children proudly presents Harbourage, a safe harbor community designed around the needs of rescued child sex trafficking victims. Harbourage Child Trafficking Homes have been planned by Ark of Hope for Children to bring a safety net around rescued survivors of all ages; from 1 to 25+ years old. Ark of Hope researched extensively into the needs of trafficking victims and how to bring them extreme trauma to transformed lives filled with hope and bright futures. Our architecturally rendered Harbourage safe homes will be built in north central Florida.
Harbourage will meet personal and emotional needs of survivors
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2011 states, “Governments should be judged not on their response to the most “deserving” of victims, but on their perseverance with the most challenging.”
Care takers at Harbourage will act as independent guardians that will provide therapeutic daily support, listening ears, unconditional love, guidance and care. As quoted from governmental sources;
“A comprehensive response (for trafficking survivors) will include assessing and providing for any needs including physical and mental health care, food, shelter, clothing, safety planning, immigration assistance, criminal defense, repatriation, family reunification, job skills training, employment placement, victim advocacy, translation, and interpretation.”
Ark of Hope for Children care takers will act as liaisons in all of these, and other areas, helping survivors understand and make informed decisions on the guidance and support they are being offered by the many service providers.
Harbourage is committed to stability, offering long term care and support
Ark of Hope for Children is committed to help every resident of Harbourage trafficking homes build upon their past abuse and experiences to lead success filled lives filled with faith, hope and love. We will provide designated areas for boys as well as girls. Not enough attention has yet been paid to male victims, yet the Penn State scandal of 2011-12 and others like it clearly show many males will need rescuing and safe harbor as well.
Even though rescued from their abusers the emotional trauma is often relived every day. A human trafficking victim is often controlled by the use of physical and mental torture and forced drug use. They can suffer from depression, PTSD, suicidal thoughts, flashbacks, severe nightmares, STD’s and much more. Through Harbourage, Ark of Hope for Children will meet their basic and immediate supportive needs first.
The care for these trafficking victims through Harbourage will be a long term commitment offering permanence and stability. We will provide coaches and mentors patiently earning their trust, so that disclosure can begin.
“Disclosure was shown to be part of a process: it was rarely a single event. It was common for the young people to provide details intermittently, at points when they felt safe to disclose... Sometimes disclosure took several months, sometimes up to a year or more…”
The residents of the safe-houses will learn to operate as a family unit. They will be nurtured, mentored, counseled and educated by Ark of Hope caretakers that hold no age, race, sex, religious or social bias and places no limit on the duration of stay. Each resident will be treated on an individual rehabilitative basis and all are given an equal opportunity with goals to ultimately be reintroduced to a stable life.
Educational needs will be assessed, not based upon the assumed age of the individual, but based on their ability. Some may have been kept from school for short or very long periods of time. Harbourage will help them complete high school or acquire their GED as appropriate for that person. Beyond high school, Ark of Hope for Children will assist any willing to advance to college, trade school or employment. All along the way we will teach appropriate independent living skills to enhance the survival skills they will have learned from their past difficult lifestyles.
Harbourage offers Rehabilitation through Nature
Nature and animals break physical boundaries with most children by connecting to them despite their backgrounds. No animal will ever look at someone in light of his or her past. Building with this environment in mind is conducive to providing therapy to children who truly need love that is in ignorance of their past.
Many of these children have fought to invest in others, only to be completely disregarded, receiving no love and respect in return. But this is not so with nature. A flower blooms when it is watered, this is consistent. An animal shows devotion when nurtured. Nature is that it gives back what is put into it. Our Harbourage design plan allow for rehabilitation through nature by providing animals to nurture and gardens to tend.
Harbourage; Habilitation by Design
World government’s state that the biggest need for rescued trafficking victims is adequate safe shelter. There are far too few qualified, long term, trafficking focused care shelters for these girls and boys to go once rescued. For this reason Ark of Hope for Children has delved deeply and excitedly into a plan to build a safe harbor community for child trafficking victims rescued within the United States.
For almost a full year a university architect major worked on defining the specific needs of child trafficking victims, then designing a safe harbor facility around those ideas. He has designed a self sustaining, environmentally sound and energy efficient facility that we are confident will achieve therapeutic healing and habilitation.
To do so Ark of Hope’s Harbourage architectural design needed to incorporate the following;
- A system of housing units allowing up to six survivors to live together with two house parents, per unit
- Housing units provide for family structure, with privacy allowing for reflection and personal growth
- Able to provide for care, habilitation, rehabilitation and education
- Informal in design to encourage residents to feel at home, safe and comfortable
- Additional general purpose facilities that can be used for study, training and recreation
- Able to provide home style living for youth for as long as needed until ready for independence
- Job and life skill training, along with employment assistance
Harbourage; Transition Towards Peace Filled Living
“Every second of every day should be a warm embrace where peace is transmitted to each individual. Every morning should be a morning of fresh beginning, every afternoon one of harmonious productivity, and every evening one of slow bliss. The goal is not to design, it is to allow. Allow each day to occur in a built environment that supports freshness, harmony, and bliss. Light must be smooth, darkness must be alive, the sun must be invigorating and the moon must be a reminder of a life that once was but no longer is.”
Harbourage; Therapeutic Design
It is important for the entire property, but especially the interior spaces to provide for a supportive family life environment. From all of the systems involved to natural light, the interior space needed to be active, just as nature is active. The experience created within each housing unit had to be one of consistency; consistent temperature, consistent light and consistent life. By providing an atmosphere conducive to a rock solid home life, Ark of Hope for children can lay a strong foundation for successful rehabilitation.
Psychologically speaking, each space has been organized to fit into a daily routine that allows each resident the consistency of a daily schedule; each room with a specific purpose for a specific time and leaving little to no room for aimless activity. Design wise, every day needed to be able to be centered on specific goals, where the private space supplements the public space in successfully accomplishing these goals. This structure in time and design allows for teaching Harbourage residents the benefits of a purposeful life. By teaching these young people the value of leading a purposeful life, Ark of Hope for children can help each one gradually enter into a healthier mindset that acknowledges their individual strengths.
At Harbourage, these housing units were designed to internalize thought and structure daily activities. Busyness encourages new and fresh daily thought while counseling and contemplation process those thoughts. Ark of Hope for Children has structured the living quarters to house a strong support system within each resident’s life. Each individual maintains his or her own space, but is surrounded by a strong and supportive family unit. Each house is structured for the children to live on each of two levels in separated but accountable groups of three. One cannot stand alone, two can work together but three provide intimacy and accountability for one another.
The individual cottages at Harbourage do not encourage sedative dwelling as most traditional homes do. Second level living quarters offer basic daily activities while the bottom level allows for more leisure activities to take place. The living units do not only encourage support, but they promote productive lifestyles. At Harbourage the family does not live in only the house, but they live on the entire property.
Work and learning spaces separate from the living units allow for this daily movement and productivity to take place. Psychologically, a sedative day to day schedule can encourage depression and even destructive feelings of entrapment. This would be absolutely detrimental to the therapy of child trafficking victims.
Separate work and learning spaces help complete an ecologically green design plan. Work spaces were designed that consist of several studios for various trade skills; from painting to mechanic work. Also incorporated into Ark of Hope for Children’s plan is a fully functioning tractor trailer that will be used to transport goods from the safe houses to local markets and stores.
Harbourage; Ecologically Sound, Sustainable Living
In an effort to further define the emotional reasoning within each space, qualities were arrived upon from the balance one finds from being in a healthy emotional state. Building each structure to reflect this healthy emotional state is crucial so that survivors are never encouraged to emotionally regress.
One must understand that the basic drive most humans have for life, victims of trafficking do not necessarily have. Unstructured freedom of movement and choice while internally being confronted with their past can lead to unintended negative results. By using these therapeutic elements Harbourage will allow each user to grow into a constructive system of thought that calms, focuses, and pushes him or her to continue living.
A sustainable environment must make considerations for sun, shading, wind and water for climate control. Designing so as to harvest the best of these helped create a sustainable eco-friendly, healthy living environment for the Harbourage community. By Harbourage employing sustainable practices and methods of sustainable living, a very organic system of therapy can take place. It was very important for us to employ simple, natural, and sustainable ideas that bring about pure living. By designing so the new constant that the youthful Harbourage survivors are exposed to is pure, Ark of Hope for Children provides a therapeutic, healing and nurturing environment.
Other portions of the Harbourage energy efficient design plan include;
- Passively cooled using thermodynamics to cool the interior space
- Use of natural water sources (as available)
- Rainwater retention
- Composting toilet system
- Heat stack
- Fiber cement siding
Ark of Hope for Children’s wonderfully designed Harbourage community has been rendered artistically. Now we need partners to help Ark of Hope take the next steps to make our Harbourage child trafficking community takes the next steps toward reality. We hope you will partner with us.
Harbourage residents and child trafficking survivors in general, are some of the most deserving young people any of us can imagine. Their struggles have taught them survival skills that can be shaped and honed to bring about highly successful adulthoods that build upon their past rather than falling victim to it. For that to happen, an impassioned society must step in with intentional intervention. Ark of Hope for Children has the plan and we need your help to implement every phase.
Please help Ark of Hope for Children reach these goals at Harbourage as we, “Break the chains of child trafficking to lead survivors into lives filled with faith, hope and love.”