London human trafficking: how the women recover
London police arrested 78 suspects during Project Equinox, a massive investigation focussed on John stings
Social service agencies in London are helping 18 women face a new and uncertain future after they agreed to leave the sex trade as part of a major police investigation into human trafficking.
London police arrested 78 suspects during Project Equinox, a massive investigation that focussed on John stings that started in October.
The women, who ranged in age from 15-55, were taken to a safe place to begin their recovery from a life of poverty, violence and in some cases, addiction.
Each woman has unique needs, but emergency housing is the first service provided for anyone without a home, explained Shelley Yeo, assistant executive director at Anova, an organization that provides shelter and support to victims of sexual violence and abuse.
"Sometimes when police are involved or other supports they might be able to provide a hotel or a motel or something like that while they're trying to find them some permanent housing," she said. "It's not ideal, but there would be supports available to them while they're going through that process."
Yeo says although a range of support services are available, choice is critical when it comes to what a victim of sexual exploitation wants to do next.
"Hopefully some transitional housing could be available as well," she said. "Hopefully (they get) some permanent housing with supports attached, some counselling would be offered, that type of thing."