iCare4 program helps trafficking victims

  • Follow Your Faith

Karen Amerson said she was stunned and brokenhearted by the trafficking of women she witnessed during a mission trip to Ethiopia in 2009.

Linda Goble is the director of Teen Mothers of Preschoolers for iCare4, a faith-based organization that cares for and advocates for women who have been sexually exploited.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Linda Goble is the director of Teen Mothers of Preschoolers for iCare4, a faith-based organization that cares for and advocates for women who have been sexually exploited.

She said she was even more shocked to learn that the same thing was happening to young girls in her hometown, and worse, that many of these victims have children who are destined to grow up and become victims or pimps themselves.

Amerson, a Martinez resident, founded iCare4, a faith-based organization to shelter and help victims of trafficking, and to care for their children while they heal.

The organization has a three-pronged mission: intervention by identifying women and reaching out to girls who are at risk, restoration through refuge and helping victims transform their lives, and prevention by caring for victims’ children and attempting to keep them from falling back into that lifestyle.

The idea came to her two months after she returned from the mission trip. She began working with a young woman and over time, learned that she was a victim of sex trafficking. Within nine months she met five more girls, and they all had similar stories.

The girls had been sexually abused at home, and then they began to be sold for sex. All but one of the women had children.

“That’s where we got the vision that there’s going to be a lot of women like this,” she said. “When these women come in for restoration, they’re going to need a safe place for their children.”

iCare4 currently runs a program called Teen Mothers of Preschoolers, or MOPS, that meets on Monday nights for Bible study and life skills classes. Participants aren’t always victims of trafficking, but have been identified as being at-risk. They are served a meal, and childcare is provided. A Teen MOPS closet offers participants diapers or children’s clothing and other necessities.

“We want to encourage them just to see that there is a different side to this life they’re living,” said MOPS director Linda Goble.

Amerson, Goble and a team of 16 professionals from sectors such as business, faith, education, social work, law enforcement and law returned from a recent training session with Shared Hope International in Washington, D.C., to learn about warning signs of sex trafficking.

In addition, iCare4 is working with schools and civic organizations to raise awareness.

Goble said while some victims are kidnapped, many more are coerced.

“The perpetrators know exactly how to prey on these young girls,” Goble said. “They’re watching them. They’re everywhere watching your young kids. Those that are vulnerable, low self esteem, from a bad family, whatever. They know what to say to them. They know what to offer them. That’s why we’ve got to get into the schools.”

She said many people mistakenly think that women in prostitution or pornography are there by choice when the reality is that they don’t have a choice. A small group of men involved with iCare4, called Defenders, are working to dispel the myth.

“Some men are walking around thinking that this is the girls’ choice. I think that same thought process makes men think they’re buying sex, that it’s OK because the girl chose it,” Amerson said. “A lot of girls that are in these pornographic movies and pictures are being forced to do it.”

A victim sees herself as a sex object, and Amerson’s mission is to show her that she is much more than that.

“That’s why we want the restoration home so bad,” she said.

There victims will learn skills that will help them succeed in their new lives.

The organization is currently raising money for land on which to build River Tree Ranch, a facility that includes one house for victims who are going through restoration and a second house for children. With two houses and a highly trained staff, victims can be near their children as they go through restoration, while still having the time they need to focus on their own healing, Amerson said.

Building materials have been donated and Wendell Price Construction will build the homes as soon as iCare4 purchases the land.

“We just really believe we’re supposed to do that land with cash,” Amerson said. “We’re working on sustainability, so we want to be debt-free when it opens.”


For more information about iCare4 or Teen Mothers of Preschoolers, call (706) 414-6482 or (706) 414-9547, or visit i-care4.org.

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specsta 11/25/13 - 11:32 pm
Just The Facts, Please...

While I agree with the basic cause of this organization, let's take a deeper look into this.

From the article - "She said many people mistakenly think that women in prostitution or pornography are there by choice when the reality is that they don’t have a choice."

First of all, you have to differentiate between prostitution and pornography, as these are completely separate things.

Prostitution is legal in most of the world. In countries apart from the USA, sex work is regulated and is a business no different than the corner grocery store. In the US, however, other than eleven counties in Nevada, prostitution is illegal. When things are illegal, they thrive underground - where nothing is regulated and criminality rules.

There is no federal law prohibiting prostitution - it is the states that have decided that they have the right to dictate morality - and the end result has been a seedy, drug-addicted, diseased business that thrives on manipulation, control and violence. And it's not going anywhere. As long as people have sexual needs, prostitution will exist.

The common sense route to take would be for these states to decriminalize prostitution - thereby striking a blow to the criminal element, such as trafficking. Other countries have successfully managed to protect sex workers, provide medical advice and care, and allow safe environments for businesses.

But back to the original comment about "choice" - the whole concept of independent sex workers or "high-class" call girls who choose to work in this profession must be accounted for. Male and female escorts who make 100 grand per year as intimate companions. No one forced or coerced them into sex work. It was their choice.

Which brings me to adult film actors and actresses.

From the article - “A lot of girls that are in these pornographic movies and pictures are being forced to do it.”

Really? A female adult actress can easily generate an income of $300,000 or more per year, depending on the number of films shot. There are actresses who make 30 million or more per year, such as Jenna Jameson or Sunny Leone, based on appearances and endorsements. Even a low-level actress can make $50,000 per year. Women can make enough money to pay rent and tuition and a car loan just by working in the privacy of their homes, doing webcamming part-time.

They choose to enter the adult film profession, no one is forcing them. The idea of coercion by violence and other means is a big falsehood generated by extreme moral crusaders who want to eliminate all adult businesses.

It is easy to generate the "we must do something" mentality when it comes to the illegal sex industry - but in order to help actual victims, let's separate the truth from the hype. Let's look at ways to legalize and protect sex workers, thereby removing the criminal element.

Let's have a frank talk about it, without the stigma. Then maybe some actual victims can be helped.

JRC2024 11/29/13 - 10:25 am
The blonde's return to an

The blonde's return to an industry she had had a love hate relationship with comes as she fights for custody for her sons against her former partner and recently lost her home to foreclosure.
Last month her Hollywood Hills mansion was sold for $1.8 million to pay off bank debts.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2501887/Jenna-Jameson-retur...
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Specta, Jenna must not be doing too well. She had her house taken back by the bank. Wonder what she did with all the money she earned? She sure looks rough.

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