Off the Streets is an award-winning, evidence-based program dedicated to serve the needs of women with histories of sex trafficking and exploitation. Off the Streets utilizes a culturally-sensitive, trauma-informed model to help survivors of sex trafficking find safety, recovery, and empowerment.
Our program recognizes the significant trauma victims have experienced and guides them on a path to a healthy and productive lifestyle. Victims are provided immediate housing and are connected to other existing services in the community that can address their needs. Located in Hamilton County, Ohio, Off the Streets is a local collaborative effort with the police department, criminal justice system, local government, health care providers, substance abuse and mental health treatment providers, and more than 50 nonprofit agencies.
Since its inception in 2006, our program served over 800 victims of sex trafficking. Our program manager and almost all of the staff members who provide comprehensive case management services to our participants are survivors of human trafficking themselves. Their life experiences and dedication informed the development of our approach and have facilitated a welcoming, non-judgmental environment for the women we serve. Further, their image as courageous and inspiring women empowers hundreds of survivors who have come to our doors.
Off the Streets has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Community Problem Oriented Policing Awards (2007, 2011), the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce Non-Profit of the Year Award (2007), the Mutual of America National Community Partnership Award (2008), and Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations Program Excellence Award in 2006, 2011 & 2013.
Who are victims of sex trafficking?
According to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), a victim of sex trafficking is someone who has engaged in commercial sex acts that were “induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.” Unfortunately, most victims of human trafficking are never identified because they are being held by force, received threats against them or their families, do not identified as victims (they have been led to believe they are responsible for their victimization), do not know where to seek help, or they fear institutions such as the police will not believe them, will not help them, or will further stigmatize them. In an effort to increase the identification of victims, Judge Paul Herbert from Franklin County Ohio partnered with a human trafficking research center and conducted assessments on more than 1,000 people charged with prostitution-related offenses. By using a comprehensive trafficking assessment tool, Judge Herbert was able to find that 92% of the women who passed through his courtroom after being charged with prostitution met the definition of human trafficking victims.
At intake, 93.7% of the women we serve report being homeless, 61.3% report a mental health diagnosis, 98.2% need substance abuse treatment, 41.3% report having a medical diagnosis, and over half of the women we serve report being prescribed medications. In addition, many victims do not report having mental health or health issues at intake due to stigma, fear of rejection, or fear of receiving medical care.
The women range in age from 18 to 57 years old, with 35 as the average age. Over 45% of the women who attend our program belong to minority populations. The majority of the women of color we serve identify as African American. We also serve individuals from the Appalachian region (4.1%) and Hispanic/Latino participants (1.8%).
Off the Streets is an evidence-based, empirically supported, and effective program for helping women who have been trafficked and sexually exploited abstain from abusing substances, end their sexual exploitation, and obtain housing. After attending our program, 72.9% of program participants find sobriety, 78.3% are able to end their commercial sexual exploitation, and 45% find housing.
Off the Streets follows a comprehensive case management approach that uses a trauma-informed, culturally-sensitive, and victim-centered model. At Off the Streets, comprehensive case management includes direct services (short-term housing, mental health screening and therapy, counseling, substance abuse screening) and community referrals for housing, psychiatric services, detox services, job skills training, legal services, counseling, and health screening and medical care. Referrals for health screening and medical care include dental care, treatment for sexually transmitted infections, family planning services, and the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care (e.g. exams, tests, pre-natal services, and non-directive health-related counseling). We provide referrals to services within our community and work closely with the victims, community partners, and public agencies to serve the victims’ needs. The victims’ concerns guide the actions of our service delivery strategy.
Off the Streets has incredible support from volunteers who facilitate groups throughout the day. However, you may also help by sharing our story with people you know, hosting a benefit such as a potluck dinner, hosting an activity for the women, or writing letters of encouragement. For information about volunteering, please contact 513-768-6907.
Donate items. Because women often come literally from off the streets, we provide personal care items, undergarments, clothing, single bed sheets, towels and washcloths, and non-perishable food. We are always in need of these items. We also need bus tokens and small gift cards to stores such as Kroger, Remke, or Walgreen’s.
Attend the Style & Steps for OTS, which benefits the program. Each year the event is in November, and it’s always fun!
Purchase a pendant. The sterling silver, one-of-a-kind necklaces are available for purchase and the proceeds benefit the program. Please click here for more information.
We work with any woman who has a history of sex trafficking and exploitation. Many of the women who participate in the program have been charged with prostitution. The program accepts referrals from many sources including:
Contact our Outreach and Intake Coordinator at 513-378-2534 to participate.
There is no set time for the program. Each woman makes progress in her recovery at her own pace. If a woman is referred by the Court or Probation, she may be required to participate in a specified amount of services. However, the program will work with women as long as needed. Most women participate for about one year.
For referral information, contact our Outreach and Intake Coordinator at 513-378-2534.
For general information, contact Viann Barnett, Program Manager at 513-768-6921.