“Hugely well done in providing such a holistic wraparound support, it really is a dream come true” - Elly, referrer
Orchards exists to see women free from sexual exploitation and to enable them to take steps towards a future where they can thrive.
The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes.” (UN Secretary-General’s Bulletin on protection from sexual exploitation and abuse)
The legal and illegal sex industry is an ever-increasing sphere for sexual exploitation to occur. Its various forms including street prostitution, off-street prostitution, sex tourism, pornography and international and domestic trafficking, are prevalent in every town and city across the UK.
There are an estimated 100,000 women involved in prostitution in the UK
Approximately 50% of women involved in prostitution entered before the age of 18.
50% of women involved in prostitution have been raped, and/ or seriously sexually assaulted. At least three quarters of women involved in prostitution have been physically assaulted. The mortality rate is 12 times the national average.
In 2016, 25% of all reported potential trafficking victims in the UK were victims of sexual exploitation.
Women and girls account for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry.
Sexual exploitation and housing
Lack of housing can act both as a reason for entry into sexual exploitation and a barrier to exit, trapping many women in a cycle of exploitation.
There are very few specialist safe houses supporting women beyond short term crisis support and current provision does not meet the high demand.
Women leaving emergency accommodation may not be ready to manage tenancy arrangements or rent payments by themselves, so the risk of re-entering exploitative situations is high. Orchards works to fill this gap with the provision of move-on accommodation and tailored support aimed at equipping women for independent living.
1. Safe housing and wraparound support
We come alongside women in their journey towards a life free from sexual exploitation. We work specifically with women who have been involved in prostitution and those who have been trafficked for sexual purposes. We provide:
Semi-independent safe housing linked to a local church
Weekly individual sessions with a support worker, with a tailored holistic support plan focussing on physical and emotional health, legal and financial support, employment and training and resettlement.
Our first flat opened its doors in Spring this year and are looking to grow to a cluster of four properties over the next few years.
2. Counselling services
The psychological impact of prostitution and sexual exploitation can be significant, with many survivors experiencing anxiety, flashbacks, low self-esteem and relationship difficulties as a result of their experiences. Our counselling team are specialised in working with sexual trauma. We understand the need for survivors to talk about and process what they have been through in a safe, non-judgemental and supportive space.
Access to counselling services can be difficult and waiting lists can be long, yet the needs are great amongst this client group. We provide:
Weekly counselling sessions for Orchards residents with a trained counsellor specialised in sexual trauma
The Orchards counselling team can also offer counselling to other services working with women who have experienced sexual exploitation. Get in touch for more info.
Orchards recognises that it is not enough to just support women exiting. We provide bespoke training sessions aimed at changing the wider context, challenging attitudes on sexualisation in our culture and sexual exploitation, equipping you, your organisation or faith group to work effectively with survivors and grow in your understanding of these issues. Get in touch to book a speaker.
There are many ways you can support:
Pray Sign up to our regular prayer e-newsletter and stay up to date on what’s new at Orchards, how you can be praying and upcoming prayer events
Donate Many more women are unable to exit sexually exploitative situations because of a lack of transitional housing. Please join us as we seek to open our next property and work alongside women in their journey to exit by donating now. You can sign up here to give monthly or make a one-off donation.
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