West End Outpatient Counselor Experiences Human Trafficking First-Hand

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Human Trafficking

Riley Anderson, West Outpatient Counselor

I graduated in 3 years from Olivet Nazarene University with a B.S in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. I then moved to Mexico City, Mexico working with an organization in their safe-home for teenage victims of human trafficking. I led group therapy sessions, exercise classes, and different workshops of topics varying from emotion control, brain-body coordination, and communication. We had anywhere from 10-12 girls in the home at a time. I spent 2 years there and loved my work.

I am fluent in Spanish from many years of studying and lots of practical experience and would love the opportunity to work with ASAC’s latino clients. I am passionate about getting the Spanish-speaking community the resources they need in mental healthcare. This position at ASAC has already helped prepare me professionally by providing the outlet to obtain my tCADC in December and receive different trainings. One of my goals while working at ASAC is to provide faith-centered mind-body connection class involving exercise as well as  a group led in Spanish, as our population of clients allows.

I would say one of the stories that affected me the most was one girl had been sold and trained up to sell drugs, carry drugs, manipulate men, she learned about torture, all of these terrible things a 14 year old should never have to do. To see her in our home, living a relatively normal life, getting along with the other girls in the house and advancing in school was nothing short of a miracle after all she’d been though. That was why I loved working in that field.

Each girl came from a very tough past of unimaginable situations, and we were there to be part of their healing process and allow them a safe space to learn and  grow up. Being a part of that has taught me that we can’t just turn a blind eye to the hard things in the world, because there is healing and redemption for those who have suffered so much. It doesn’t come easy, but I believe there is hope.