It takes time to build trust, especially with youth who have experienced the trauma of being sex trafficked.

"Most of the young women we support have had their trust violated in some form. It can take a long time before they are comfortable with accepting my help. Sometimes it takes a couple of months, sometimes a year. They need to be in control of the process." says Ashley.

Ashley, a Youth in Transition worker who specializes in supporting survivors of sex trafficking and those who are at risk, knows the importance of meeting youth wherever they are in their journey and putting them in the driver’s seat.

Ashley supports youth living at Covenant House and in our specialized homes for sex trafficking survivors, in addition to helping young people living in the community.

"We help them with anything from finding permanent housing, employment or job training, getting financial aid, pursuing education and just being a one-on-one support to listen and provide comfort," she said.

She also helps survivors through the legal processes against their trafficker, supporting them through police statements, courtroom proceedings and testimonies.

COVID-19 has made Ashley’s role more challenging, with many community support programs overstretched. She prioritizes the youth’s immediate needs, like food and shelter.

"These young people have given me their trust, and I have to make sure no one is left behind."