Supporting human-trafficking survivors through welcoming attitudes and a will to help; That’s what volunteers at the Well program are doing to help survivors live a normal life.
The Well program is a part of the Salvation Army located in Columbus, Ohio. The program started in 2012 and has continued to help survivors of human trafficking.
Vaya Fraley, an anti-human trafficking clinical specialist at the Salvation Army, taught a class consisting of people interested in volunteering with survivors on Mar. 9. What Fraley discussed were the responsibilities that volunteers have in order to help those that are a part of the Well program.
Some of these responsibilities include engaging with participants; lunch preparation and project preparation; assist participants with projects; and supporting staff needs.
“These are some of the things we ask our volunteers in engaging with participants,” Fraley said. “We want to make [the survivors] feel welcome and that is how you would normally make a stranger feel welcome.”
With the lessons learned through the Well program training, volunteers will know how to properly help survivors of human trafficking.
The Well program also does a street outreach every Monday night. What volunteers do during the outreach is go on a certain route through some of the streets in Columbus with the most cases of human trafficking being done. They will find women who are still a part of human trafficking through prostitution. The Well program will provide them supplies like food and hygiene items.
“We know the areas where [human trafficking] is most prominent. This includes Sullivan Ave., E. Main St. and Parsons” Fraley said.
The Salvation Army’s Well program also accepts donations for activities and lunches. However, they ask for donations to be enough for about 30 survivors.
“Everything is on a donation basis, so sometimes resources are limited,” Fraley said. “Be aware that you are cultivating a healthy relationship with [the survivors], you just want to put it back on us because once you start singling or feeling as you are favoriting one woman by giving them something and that’s gonna be noticed.”
In the end, the Well program is only focused on helping the survivors with their well-being. All volunteers are welcomed once they complete the training session.
“I encourage the women that the volunteers are here to help [them]” Fraley said. And with the donations and moral support, the volunteers are meeting the requirements necessary.