The Bay Area is one of the nation’s hubs for child sex trafficking. Every night, roughly 100 girls are sold on the streets of Oakland. In response to this growing problem, we started C-Change, an intensive mental health program that helps children heal from sexual exploitation. C-Change staff build relationships with exploited youth and stay with them through all stages of recovery. In therapy, young adults learn to view themselves and their situations differently, while our team connects them to the things they need the most, such as safe housing, health care and educational resources. With the help of C-Change staff, young people begin to see themselves as worthy of care and respect, and learn the skills needed to advocate for themselves.
WestCoast works with a broad coalition of advocates to change attitudes about sexually exploited children. Currently, they are treated as criminals rather than victims in need of help. We also provide research data and direct recommendations to policymakers enabling legislative reforms that will, in the long term, reduce exploitation, protect children, and ensure that victims have access to the services they need.
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