Girls and Women on the Streets of Detroit Find Help and Hope Against Violence: Alternatives for Girls Street Outreach Project Celebrates 20th Anniversary Christmas Eve

Alternatives For Girls (AFG) reports that 100% of the girls and women in the sex industry who access AFG's exiting services are victims of violence. Recently the world acknowledged the "International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers", but every day of the year, AFG works to support women as they stand up against relationship and street violence. December 24, 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of the very first outreach shift. To celebrate this anniversary and to highlight the violence and oppression that girls and women endure, AFG will conduct 20 consecutive hours of street outreach, ending with a celebratory luncheon at AFG (903 West Grand Blvd., Detroit) at noon on December 24th.

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Detroit, MI (PRWEB) December 24, 2008

Alternatives For Girls (AFG) reports that 100% of the girls and women in the sex industry who access AFG's exiting services are victims of violence. Recently the world acknowledged the "International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers", but every day of the year, AFG works to support women as they stand up against relationship and street violence.

Comments from participants:
"AFG saved my life."
"I have been raped so many times; I don't even want to tell you."
"I was told I didn't matter because I was a prostitute."
"Thank you. You (AFG) are all I have."

Alternatives For Girls provides outreach throughout the City of Detroit to girls and women of all ages, helping women take steps toward more positive choices in their lives. At different times of the day and most days of the week, AFG staff and volunteers travel through major thoroughfares of Detroit. Workers talk with women on the street; pass out hygiene kits, food, hats, mittens, blankets, referral cards, and both education and information on HIV/AIDS, safety, and violence prevention.

December 24, 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of the very first outreach shift. To celebrate this anniversary and to highlight the violence and oppression that girls and women endure, AFG will conduct 20 consecutive hours of street outreach, ending with a celebratory luncheon at AFG (903 West Grand Blvd., Detroit) at noon on December 24.

The luncheon will feature a community viewing of a newly released documentary, "Through the Storm, Women Who Survived." AFG participants took part in this documentary. These women openly and graphically talk about their many beatings, rapes, and narrow escapes of violence and the physical and emotional scars left behind.

Going Where No one Goes; Doing What No One Else Does; Caring When No One Else Cares.

The Prostitution Round Table's "New Voices Initiative" sponsored by the Nokomis Foundation, claimed that AFG's work with girls and women involved in prostitution "inspired" their efforts. For young women engaged in prostitution AFG's exiting sex work program remains a referral through the Wayne Country Drug Court. In addition, the Genesee County Prosecutor's office has sent four women to AFG's exiting sex work program in Detroit.

AFG's Outreach and Education Services provides girls and women living and working on the streets mobile outreach, crisis intervention, case management services, survival aid, exiting sex work group workshops, transportation and peer education. Other organizations include female sex workers in their programming, but AFG's long-history, diverse expertise, and specialized commitment make us the only safe haven where women can talk about their sex work openly, without fear of reprisal. Sex work, or the sex industry, includes prostitution, exotic dancing, escorts, pornography, and more.

In 2007-2008, AFG's Outreach program:

  •     Completed 488 hours of street outreach resulting in 2,100 contacts
  •     Saw 177 individuals who reported being under the age of 25 (many give false information for fear of police or duress of pimps)
  •     Distributed nearly 25,000 resources and/ or referrals to AFG and other community agencies
  •     Utilized 882.5 volunteer hours (community members who give their time to support these girls and women) and collaborated with 33 community organizations (partners who provide additional support)
About Alternatives For Girls:
AFG's street outreach program began in 1988 as a southwest Detroit-neighborhood response to the growing numbers of girls and women involved in street level prostitution. As one of the only programs in Michigan that specifically targets and works with this specific population, the program has continued with private funding (from McGregor Fund, Skillman Foundation, and MAC AIDS Fund) and now has money from the State of Michigan Department of Community Health HIV/ AIDS Prevention and Intervention Services.

In addition, AFG's services also include the Shelter/Transition to Independent Living Program, which provides homeless young women, ages 15 to 21, a safe, stable place to go in emergency situations and AFG's Community-Based Prevention Program serves southwest Detroit girls at great risk of dropping out of school, abusing drugs and alcohol, becoming pregnant at an early age, engaging in gang activities, and/or becoming involved in an abusive relationship.

For more information, contact Amy Good or Deena Policicchio at 313-361-4000. For information on volunteering or contributions, visit http://www.alternativesforgirls.org. Contributions can also be sent to Alternatives For Girls, 903 West Grand Blvd., Detroit 48208.

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