...freedom from criminal records and paths to meaningful (and sustainable) activity - most importantly, a career. Commercial sexual exploitation has a devastating impact on many people's lives. In fact, often services that seek to support those affected by CSE are preoccupied with urgent, immediate concerns such as personal safety, health issues, and housing.
Unfortunately, the strain on resources within the third sector means that many organisations are unable to get beyond crisis intervention. Funding for anything beyond crisis intervention can also be a challenge, with resources directed at fighting the fires that seem most important at an intuitive level.
However, research across a range of organisations that support women to leave the commercial sex industry has shown us that what women do with their daily lives has a very real and direct impact on whether they change their lives for good.
Once women have managed to remove themselves from their previous circumstances, have shelter, and more safety, the problem of who and what they will be moving forward weighs heavily on them. So heavily, in fact, that without hope that is tangible, practical, and rooted in meaningful activity, women can experience reversals and even ultimately return to their unwanted and/or chaotic lifestyles.
This happens because women are left without a clear path and feeling dependent on benefits and other forms of support. As a result, women simply believe that they do not have the capacity to live differently. This means interventions fail to create lasting change and women cycle back through the system. This has both a human cost and financial impact on services. Moreover, we at SASE simply believe that no-one should ever be in this position.
We believe everyone should be leading lives that are fulfilling and make use of their strengths and resilience. We believe that no matter what someone's past, there are opportunities for the future. Our job is to help find these opportunities and make them more available to those who need them.
Find out more about our 'Good Lives' model, our theory of change, and overcoming barriers such as criminal records in future posts.