Courage to be You
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Photo courtesy of Courage to be You, Inc.
Sex trafficking. The mere mention of the words conjures images of streetwalkers and dark alleys in underdeveloped countries.
In sad truth, vulnerable children are exploited, abused, traded and sold, all over the world. The startling reality is that minor girls in our very own region are victims of domestic sex trafficking and Rocklin-based nonprofit Courage to Be You (C2BU) aims to change that.
Local mother, counselor and advocate, Jenny Williamson, began C2BU in response to a divine call and an urgent need in the area. Williamson founded the organization to “help people find their purpose.” Our region has a law enforcement task dedicated solely to combat sex trafficking in the Sacramento area. And while it’s a harsh reality to face, it is a necessity to keeping children and teens safe from hideous people that prey on the most vulnerable members of our society. Victims suffer severe physical and emotional trauma, as well as a slew of detrimental psychological effects. With the help of the Sacramento FBI Safe Streets Task Force (SSTF), C2BU is helping rescue local minor-aged sex trafficking victims and providing them a safe environment. Once victims are recovered from these atrocious crimes, the overwhelming majority unfortunately has no structured support system to advocate, counsel, rehabilitate, or provide the necessary emotional care unique to their heinous situations.
Ninety-five percent of minor-aged sex trafficking victims were victims of sexual abuse while in their homes, resulting in many of the rescued children belonging to the foster system. “There is no long-term residential home in Northern California dedicated to these very unique kids,” Williamson states. C2BU’s Courage House is an endeavor to build homes for children rescued from sex trafficking. “The goal is to provide them a loving family and safe home, while equipping, encouraging and empowering them to be and do all they were created to,” Williamson says. She describes Courage House as more than a house and more than a shelter. “It’s a home – a place to belong, [a place to] receive comfort, security, safety and love. Every human longs for one. Every human deserves one,” she says. C2BU is currently raising funds to build the first Courage House, and only faith-based one dedicated to domestic sex trafficking victims in the United States.
Along with C2BU’s local influence, they are making a global impact through an international volunteer component impacting one child at a time. As their Web site reads, “Rescuing and loving one child, providing for one child’s basic needs, telling one child their life has value and purpose multiplies until it does impact the world – their world.” Their goal is to build Courage Houses for those desperately impoverished children – specifically those rescued from sex slave trade in Africa – and partner with local churches to provide safe housing to help equip, encourage and empower those children.
The issue of sex trafficking is heavy, as are the hearts of those involved. To assist with their efforts and fundraising, C2BU holds Courage Concerts to raise awareness and will hold a golf tournament on October 21 at Morgan Creek Golf Club in Roseville. Other upcoming events include a fun run and bike ride around Lake Tahoe. Volunteer opportunities are also available.
For more information, visit c2bu.org.