We are working to release sexually abused and trafficked children from mental bondage.

EmancipAction works in both private and government residential care homes to build capacity among lay counselors to deliver trauma informed carefor severely abused kids. We do research to establish effective, scalable models of care that leverage lay counselors to deliver evidence-based modules on health promotion, problem solving, emotional regulation and distress tolerance. We invest in technologies, like our monitoring and evaluation Caregiver App, support scaled implementation. We focus on what we are good at and partner with other best in class organizations to round out our model of transformational care.

We are tackling the shame of our generation.

An estimated one million children in India have been trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. 80% are female. Extreme gender violence is also rampant with a child raped in India every 2.5 hours. Most of these victims have been abused emotionally, physically, sexually, and economically; tragically, only a tiny fraction are rescued. But even after rescue, the traumatic experience of severe abuse and exploitation can lead to multiple follow-on adversities including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, social isolation, school failure, poverty, violence, further sexual abuse and criminal behavior. Studies have shown that sex trafficking victims are often psychologically and emotionally disabled by their early 30s. Early intervention is critically important to restore them to mental and socioeconomic health, and to prevent this vulnerable population from being re-trafficked.

Unfortunately, there is little reliable data about the unique trauma faced by trafficked children, and virtually no evidence base to support mental health care interventions. Compounding this problem in India is a dire lack of mental health care resources, where there are just 3 psychiatrists available for every million people. Cultural norms and a general lack of exposure to mental health care further serve to magnify a fundamental problem of limited access to transformative care for trafficked children.

Too often a missing ingredient in the care of children in crisis, trauma-informed mental health care provides an essential foundation for healing and growth. Without it, children remain vulnerable – trapped in the trauma, betrayal and lies that they have been told about their worth and potential. Without proper care, many children rescued from extreme gender violence and sex slavery are re-trafficked or return to their abusers. Then the abused often become abusers and a cycle of violence ensues. But with good mental health care, the numbers turn aroundandmany of the children who have proper treatment go on to healing and restoration, and can become advocates for healing, justice and systemic change.

 

To address these challenges, EmancipAction is implementing
a three-pronged strategy:

 
Innovate

We are working with the best minds in mental health and technology to develop a holistic approach to care that provides lay counselors with the tools, support and incentives to deliver high-quality, transformational mental health care. We are investing in the research needed to establish evidence-based mental health interventions that are effective, affordable and rapidly scalable. We are working to end a cycle of sexual abuse and gender violence by bringing together the best academic, corporate and government partners to provide kids who have been robbed of an education and healthy vocational alternatives the chance to catch up and equip themselves with the skills and opportunities they need to transform their lives and achieve their dreams.

EmancipAction, in partnership with Sangath, a leading mental health research organization in India, is training lay counselors (an affordable alternative to psychologists and psychiatrists) to deliver group sessions on health promotion, problems solving, and emotional regulation -all modules with evidence for protecting and improving mental health. Sangath's pioneering strategies aligns with EmancipAction's vision of using affordable human resources, such as lay counselors, to deliver evidence-based mental healthcare, along with appropriate training and supervision from experts. Over the past 20 years, Sangath has engaged in seminal work in mental health care by being at the forefront of designing and implementing innovative solutions for the growing treatment gap for mental health in India. Vikram Patel, who is the co-founder of Sangath and Harvard professor of the T.H. Chan School of Public Health, has received numerous accolades in recognition of his global impact in mental health.

Over the last several years EmancipAction,through providing direct clinical services and working in homes in Mumbai and Kolkata, has been able to better define what works and what doesn't in implementing holistic interventions to best serve the needs of children who are victims of extreme sexual abuse. The joint partnership will research and develop an evidence-based mental health program implemented primarily by lay counselors in child care institutions in India. A first of its kind, this ground-breaking partnership will continue EmancipAction's work within government and private care homes in order to test and scale a holistic model of care to renew minds and transform lives.

Industry-leading technology is the backbone of this innovative approach.

Critical to the success of this work is our technology partner, UST Global. UST supports EmancipAction with a continuously improving custom iPad app that facilitates the collection and analysis of real-time data. This enables lay counselors and their supervisors to have timely, data rich case discussions, leading to better training and optimal care for kids.



Using leading edge technology from UST Global, EmancipAction teams can more effectively track, measure and evaluate program results in real-time.

 
 
Heal

We are training lay counselors to provide culturally relevant, evidence-based, trauma-informed mental health care. They are empowered through behavior modeling by our lay counselors, and children are given the tools to heal from the trauma they've endured. Most children in government and private care homes are victims of sexual violence of some kind, but not all of them are victims of commercial sex slavery or human trafficking. Therefore, the scope of care EmancipAction and Sangath are jointly implementing is broad enough to help all children who are in need of a trauma-informed sexual abuse recovery program.

EmancipAction is focused on working with partners in low-resource, residential care settings to build capacity to deliver evidence-based, mental health interventions that are effective and affordable. Currently, many staff members in homes for child trafficking survivors are overworked, desensitized, and untrained in trauma care. Without realizing it, these untrained lay counselors can inadvertently re-traumatize vulnerable kids. We believe that these children and caregivers deserve more support to work with these vulnerable populations. EmancipAction aims to dramatically improve the standard of care for rescued children by training lay counselors in positive behavioral strategies, and building a sustainable psychiatric infrastructure, which includes supporting lay counselors with a holistic wellness program of their own. We have worked closely and successfully with a privately-run home in Kolkata and a government-run home for trafficked children in Mumbai.The core modules used include: health promotion and hygiene, problem solving skills, emotional regulation and distress tolerance, and trauma informed caregiving.

 
 
Transform

We are working within government and private care homes to test a holistic, trauma-informed model of care to help children transform their lives. Core modules include wellness, vocational planning and job placement.

Healing from the trauma is just the beginning of complete transformation for the abused children who are in EmancipAction-led programs. Without a holistic plan for restoration to an abundant life, children who are victims of extreme sexual violence and trafficking face insurmountable social and financial hurdles when they attempt to reintegrate into society. Successful reintegration requires a combination of education, vocational readiness programs and appropriate follow-up after a victim graduates from a group home. EmancipAction helps victims with reintegration and provides them with lifelong coping skills, however, it does not ensure their financial independence. Therefore, we are working with key partnering organizations that specialize in educational programs, so program graduates have a variety of opportunities to explore their unique interests and talents, and feel the confidence to successfully reintegrate into society.

 
 
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