Space to Flourish

we believe in

dignity

What we do

“The Albemarle County Police Department has investigated and is actively working with our federal partners to address human sex trafficking in our community.   The most challenging aspects of these types of investigations are the initial disclosure by the victims AND locating a safe, sheltering location for victims.  The Arbor is an invaluable partner in filling the existing voids and addressing the healing process for victims of human trafficking.”

Colonel Steve Sellers

Chief of Police, Albemarle County Police Department

About the Arbor

The Arbor is a nonprofit organization that provides long-term housing and holistic aftercare services to adult, female, human trafficking survivors in Virginia, so that they may establish a community of healing and reclaim wholeness, freedom, and life.

An arbor is a place of rest that offers shelter from the harshness of the sun.  The word “arbor” also refers to a structure on which plants can grow toward the light.  Our vision for this organization encompasses both of these definitions.  As we offer services to human trafficking survivors, our hope is to first provide space for restoration and healing from the trauma of trafficking.  But we also want to offer the structure of support that will allow each client to flourish, inhabit her own life, and grow into independence.

who we will serve

We will serve women over the age of eighteen who have been victimized by trafficking in the United States. We support survivors regardless of their religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, criminal background, and financial or immigration status.

who we are

We strive to pattern our actions after social justice leaders and abolitionists who have fought oppression and lived according to the call in Micah 6:8: To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

 

what we believe

We believe that all people are created with immense dignity and value, and that full restoration to wholeness is possible. For this reason, we follow the lead of each resident as she pursues healing in her own way. Because trauma carries powerful, long term impacts, we approach each resident with empathy for the trauma she has survived.

what we do

We all need a home, a place to be safe, flourish, and belong. Each resident is a complex, unique person. Therefore, we aim to foster her strengths and meet her needs in a holistic fashion through collaboration with the local community. In addition to providing a place to call home, services that help each resident transition into independent living will be offered. Comprehensive case management will focus on providing trauma specific counseling, language development, job readiness, and assistance with other essential living skills to help each resident meet her goals.

How to Help

 

To make a tax-deductible gift, please write a check to The Arbor Charlottesville and send it to:

The Arbor Charlottesville

PO Box 4692

Charlottesville, VA 22905

Or, give a gift online using the link below.

 

DONATE

 

Another great way to support The Arbor is to use AmazonSmile when shopping online.

Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to The Arbor Charlottesville whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.

 

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

 

DOES CHARLOTTESVILLE NEED A SAFE HOUSE FOR SURVIVORS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING?

Recent research has shown that human trafficking is present and on the rise in Virginia. Most support organizations are currently located in northern Virginia. Despite that fact that many human trafficking victims in Virginia are adult females from Latin America, there are very limited options for bed space (less than 5 in the state of Virginia) .

Charlottesville is a resource-rich area that also offers respite from big city life. This makes it an ideal location to provide a safe community for women who have been trafficked in Virginia or neighboring states.

We also hope to enhance the rich and varied resources already present, such as the local Domestic Violence (DV) shelters. Most DV shelters are able to house survivors for only a short period of time, and many are currently at capacity serving women and men escaping abusive situations. By targeting the unique population of human trafficking survivors, The Arbor will allow DV shelters to focus their resources on their intended populations.

IS TRAFFICKING HAPPENING IN VIRGINIA?

The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the Virginia Office of the Attorney General both acknowledge the presence of human trafficking in Virginia as well as current gaps in services for survivors. View the DCJS report.  This report indicates that human trafficking is likely on the rise in Virginia, and that the majority of victims are adult females. Sixty percent of victims identified by responders were Spanish-speakers. The most commonly identified needs for survivors were: basic needs (such as food and shelter), victim-specific services (i.e. sexual assault services), crisis and health services, and advocacy and legal services.

In 2012, The Arbor conducted a Needs Assessment that spanned Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington, DC. We interviewed 36 professionals, including police officers, nurses, hospital social workers, and crisis center advocates. Twenty-six of these professionals stated that human trafficking is a present in their geographic region. Thirteen stated either they or others at their represented organizations had personally encountered human trafficking victims. From their comments, we estimate about 45 individual survivors made contact with these 13 professionals. A variety of needs were expressed during interviews, including short and long-term housing, screening tools, human trafficking awareness education, counseling services, and culturally specific services.

WHAT OTHER ORGANIZATIONS ARE ALSO WORKING ON THIS ISSUE?

The Gray Haven offers services in Richmond, VA, to survivors of human trafficking.
Polaris Project serves Washington, DC, and provides a national hotline to report tips of suspected incidences of human trafficking.
International Justice Mission (IJM) rescues and provides aftercare in foreign countries.
We hope to work collaboratively with other organizations as they form in the state.

WHO WILL BE ABLE TO REFER TO THE ARBOR AND HOW CAN THEY MAKE THE REFERRAL?

Any service providers or allied professionals may make referrals to The Arbor, including hospitals, police, federal government representatives, or nonprofit staff. When we become operational, calls may be made directly to our staff for intake. Community members who have a tip about a suspected incident of human trafficking are advised to report to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 1-888-373-7888.

WHAT SERVICES WILL WE PROVIDE TO THE WOMEN WHO WILL LIVE AT THE ARBOR?

Women who have survived human trafficking have a wide variety of individual needs and wants. Our goal is to support each resident on her own journey of healing and wholeness. Some of the services we will offer through our organization and through partnerships will include:

  • A secure, safe, and welcoming home. The duration of stay will be determined together by the resident and The Arbor case managers. We expect most residents will stay for approximately one year.
  • Meals and basic necessities will be provided for each resident when they first arrive. Over time, we will support residents as they begin to provide for themselves.
  • Health care, legal needs, and counseling.
  • Transportation
  • Education, ESL classes, and job training.
  • Community support, such as optional workshops and activities, 
mentorship with community volunteers, and faith resources (if requested).

WHY IS THE ARBOR A FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATION?

At the Arbor, we are motivated by the justice and healing found in the Bible and lived out in the person of Jesus. The challenging work of restoration encourages us to seek strength from one another and our communities of faith. We are an ecumenical board committed to living out the words of Jesus, which invite us into love, hospitality, and compassionate justice. We believe in supporting each client as a whole person with unique physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. We support survivors regardless of their religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, criminal background, and financial or immigration status.

WHEN WILL THE ARBOR BE ABLE TO HOUSE RESIDENTS?

Our goal is to be operational in January 2015, once we have secured the necessary property, staff, and financial resources. In the meantime, we are building community support and organizational structures so we can provide the best services to our future residents.

HOW CAN I DONATE TO THE ARBOR?

Checks may be made out to The Arbor Charlottesville and mailed to PO Box 4692, Charlottesville, VA 22905.
You may also donate online. (*note: when donating online, 4% goes to our service provider, Qgiv). All donations are now tax-deductible.

Staff

JOANNA JENNINGS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The Arbor Charlottesville is pleased to announce Joanna Jennings as the first Executive Director of the organization.  Jennings is one of the co-founders of The Arbor, and will be its first staff member when she begins full-time work later this summer.

“Joanna brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in all three of our top priority areas: human trafficking in the US, social work and trauma recovery, and organizational leadership,” said Board President Laurie Jean Seaman. “She has demonstrated strong skills in communication and developing meaningful relationships within the community.”

Jennings studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and went on to work in the Investigative Unit at ABC News in New York. Her interest in the subject of human trafficking ultimately led her to study social work at Columbia University. During her graduate studies, she worked directly with foreign-born trafficking survivors at Restore NYC, which is one of the first long-term safe houses in the northeast to provide aftercare services specific to trafficking survivors. At Restore she gained experience in case management and counseling services, and developed a trauma-focused art therapy program for the shelter residents.

“Modern-day slavery exists in our state, and in the city of Charlottesville,” said Jennings. “I am deeply motivated by The Arbor’s mission and goals, and honored to be part of this work.”

If you would like more information, or to schedule in interview with a member of the organization, please e-mail arborcville@gmail.com.

Contact

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