The Continuum of Healing

Posted: July 30, 2011 in Educate yourself
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The Continuum of Healing is the process a sex trafficking survivor in America goes through. Many people may think that there’s is a clear path when a survivor has been rescued from trafficking, but the truth is the path is more complicated than one might think.

Safe houses are something a lot of people have been mentioning as a resource to deal with survivors, but a safe house can be one of the further steps on the list to a survivor finding healing.  See graphic below:

As you can see from the Continuum of Healing sheet a safe house/therapeutic group home is not always the first step  a survivor goes to. First there are some tough spots they have to get through before they can even enter into a safe house.

Candace Wheeler, founder of Restoration Ministries, comments that, “…not all facilities have the license to perform all of the necessary care. If they have any issues of self harm, and 75% are suicidal then they have to be placed in a medical RTF (residential treatment facility) or psych hospital. These are the only facilities that are licensed to care for these issues. If a girl is in a safe home and has a meltdown (becomes very angry, tries to inflict harm on herself or others) then she has to be taken to the emergency room or they call the police and they will place her in the proper facility. The paper work is immense and if she is out of state the delays in getting paper work completed so that she can be moved is unbelievable. These girls are walking time bombs—you never know when they are going to explode.”

So let’s go through the process step by step:

  1. A survivor is rescued:

i.)Whether it’s because they got arrested for another crime such as drugs, shoplifting, carjacking, robbery, etc, or because of prostitution, picked up (seems to be underage, or saved from some type of bust). These are different types of ways a survivor is found.

2.  Detention:

i.) The survivor (this will be decided in the evaluation process) will be assigned an attorney, probation officer or social worker depending on their evaluation.

A.) the evaluation is on education, psych, medical, etc.

B.) Family Team Meeting (FTM) which more info can be found here

ii.) Court hearing- (they have multiple court hearings if placed in detention. If placed at the psy hospital or foster care there are hearings, but not as many where a placement plan is presented to the judge (but the survivor has already gone through a 24 to 72 hour process to get to that point.) [All minors have to have a status hearing with 48 hr of arrest in DC— other states could be different].

iii.) An ICP (Interstate Compact Plan) has to be signed before the survivor can be taken across state lines. [The ICP is federal but every state has different laws. VA is very tough and takes longer to clear than MD or PA.]

iv.)Could be on probation for 1 yr or committed until age 21 according to DC law, which from state to state it can change.

3. Treatment

i.)Sent to Psych hospital if deemed to be harmful to self or other

ii.)Medical Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) or Long-Term Care (LTC)- (feds define long-term care 3-6 months) only facility to care for issues such as cutting or suicide and anger. Very expensive at least $430 a day.

iii.) Non-medical Residential Treatment or LTC

4. Transition

i.)Therapeutic Group Home/Safe House

ii.)Independent Living

iii.)Transitional Living

iv.)Shelters (emergency for street kids. Law enforcement will not place youth there. Youth enter on their own, cases in DC)

5. Integration


ii.)Foster Home

iii.)Drop-in Centers

iv.)Support Groups

As you can see the process is very lengthy and long, also sometimes the surviors never make it past step 3, because they relapse. This issue needs a lot of prayer and action on the prevention side and now even more on the healing side. There almost seems to be this imbalance with this issue where you see the majority of people on the prayer, prevention, and education side, and then starts to dwindle as you start the healing process, because it can be long, painful, and spiritually draining, but we need a generation to rise up and be there for the survivors they oh so passionately are fighting for the release of, but when they get released these passionate people run and leave them hanging.

Thanks to Restoration Ministries for the very in-depth information and to Networx for the graphic design. We have yet to find the owner of the continuum of healing layout, if anyone knows please contact us.


-Stephanie Johnson


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