SEPTEMBER 19, 2017
BY: KATY WHITE, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AND INNOVATION, MANY
Faith and spirituality are known to be key protective factors for youth, particularly those who have been, or are at risk of being sexually exploited (Countryman-Roswurm, 2012). In serving young people, naming the value of someone’s relationship with the Universe/God/Spirit/Higher Power, and how they see it is a powerful part of many interventions and should be given space in the mentoring world. The faith-community has been a long-time supporter of mentoring efforts, as well as in joining the fight against human trafficking and supporting victims of sexual exploitation. Integrating spirituality is an important aspect of holistic services and the faith community offers much as a community resource.
Understanding the difference between spirituality and religion can be helpful as you consider how to incorporate spirituality into services for survivors of CSEC and other youth at risk. It is not about elevating one religion over another or insisting that program participants associate with a certain religion. Rather, it is about helping them to explore, understand and express their own views on spirituality.