Educate Our First Responders
We believe in the people who work in our social systems. Our goal is to partner with them to make them aware of the sex trafficking issue in West Michigan and empower them to engage victims. We define ‘first responder’ broadly enough to encompass these groups:
- Law Enforcement: Police and security
- Educators: K-12 teachers who see students every day
- Social Workers/Advocates
- Judicial System: Judges, probation officers, and juvenile corrections
- Medical Professionals
While educating youth promotes their safety, our faith in them extends beyond their ability to stay safe. We believe that educating and empowering youth is key to ending the trafficking of people. Middle school and high school, students are a powerful group! Our hope is to empower and to activate them to engage this social injustice. We do this by targeting the following groups:
- At-risk youth: Facilitating groups that empower children already in social systems (CMH, DHS, and Juvenile Justice)
- K-12 students: Engaging students where they are by making age-appropriate presentations and allowing them to use their imaginations to solve this issue.
- Youth Leaders: Empowering these leaders to educate their peer community, offering the next generation a chance to end slavery.
To end sex trafficking, we need to end the demand for victims. By reaching out to the community through awareness presentations and partnerships with organizations and business, we confront the demand and empower citizens to end slavery in their neighborhoods. We’re inviting these groups to engage with Wedgwood's Manasseh Project:
- Faith-based Communities: Churches and religious organizations
- Social Organizations: Rotary Club, Mentoring Groups, Greek Societies, etc.
- Businesses: Local enterprizes and financial organizations
Wedgwood Christian Services has been caring for victims of trafficking for years. However, our goal is to move into specialty residential trauma recovery care, allowing victims to heal together while being supported by our community. Victim advocacy, however, extends beyond this. The process of leaving a life in traffic is complex and painful. Wedgwood's Manasseh Project will address the spectrum of healing in the following ways:
- Drop-in Centers and Community Partners: Our goal is to develop positive relationships with children in the community and with victims of trafficking. When a victim is able to leave her situation, we want to be there as a safe haven. These spaces will be in communities empowered to mentor children and identify victims.
- Outpatient Counseling: The process of healing for a victim of trafficking takes years. Wedgwood is committed to providing a continuum of care for survivors through outpatient counseling and groups.
Wedgwood's Specialized Residential Treatment Program
Wedgwood’s Manasseh Project Trauma Recovery Center opened in October 2012 and is the only specialized residential treatment program in Michigan that is designed to meet the unique and profound physical, emotional, relational, educational, and spiritual needs of girls ages 12 – 17 who have been the victims of multiple traumas of sexual exploitation. The needs of these young girls are met with a personalized treatment plan built on five pillars:
- Trauma informed counseling services (individual, family, group and recreational therapy)
- Experiential Learning
- Independent living skills
- Employment training
Combined with our voluntary Chaplaincy/Young Life services, Employment Training Program and our Wellness & Camping services, we strive to offer holistic treatment for these young women in their journey to healing and success.
To request a speaker or event, volunteer, or learn more about human trafficking, please contact:
Wedgwood’s Manasseh Project Phone:616-942-2110
For more resources or to report a trafficking victim, please call the National Trafficking In Persons Hotline at: 888-373-7888 or Text "Be Free" to 233733